2017 AFI Fest: ‘All the Money in the World’ is the closing-night film; Ridley Scott gets tribute

October 19, 2017

AFI Fest 2017 logo

The following is a press release from AFI:

The American Film Institute (AFI) announced that Academy Award®-nominated director and producer Ridley Scott will be honored by AFI FEST 2017 presented by Audi with a Tribute and World Premiere Closing Night Gala screening of TriStar Pictures’ ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD on Thursday, November 16, at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre.  The Tribute will celebrate Scott’s legendary filmmaking career with a moderated discussion of his work followed by the World Premiere screening.  Directed by Scott, ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD stars Academy Award® nominees Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams, and Academy Award® winner Kevin Spacey.  The Closing Night Gala will be sponsored by VIZIO.

“For five decades, Ridley Scott’s tremendous visions of cities, new worlds, histories and science have transformed and influenced not only film, but our culture,” said Jacqueline Lyanga, AFI FEST Director. “We’re honored to be celebrating the artistry of a director whose work has had an indelible influence on cinema culture, and the lexicon of visual style.”

One of our most prolific directors and producers, Ridley Scott is a four-time Academy Award® nominee, including Best Picture for THE MARTIAN (2015) and Best Director for BLACK HAWK DOWN (2001), GLADIATOR (2000) and THELMA & LOUISE (1991).  Additional films include ALIEN (1979), BLADE RUNNER (1982), LEGEND (1985), BLACK RAIN (1989), G.I. JANE (1997), MATCHSTICK MEN (2003), KINGDOM OF HEAVEN (2005), AMERICAN GANGSTER (2007), ROBIN HOOD (2010), PROMETHEUS (2012), THE COUNSELOR (2013), EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS (2014) and ALIEN: COVENANT (2017).

ABOUT THE FILM

ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD follows the kidnapping of 16-year-old John Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer) and the desperate attempt by his devoted mother Gail (Michelle Williams) to convince his billionaire grandfather (Kevin Spacey) to pay the ransom.  When Getty, Sr., refuses, Gail attempts to sway him as her son’s captors become increasingly volatile and brutal.  With her son’s life in the balance, Gail and Getty’s advisor (Mark Wahlberg) become unlikely allies in the race against time that ultimately reveals the true and lasting value of love over money.

Directed by Ridley Scott, TriStar Pictures’ and Imperative Entertainment’s ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD is written by David Scarpa, based on the book by John Pearson. Produced by Dan Friedkin, Bradley Thomas, Quentin Curtis, Chris Clark, Ridley Scott, Mark Huffam and Kevin Walsh, the film stars Michelle Williams, Kevin Spacey, Mark Wahlberg, Romain Duris, Charlie Plummer and Timothy Hutton.

The film debuts in theaters this December.

November 8, 2017 UPDATE: The AFI Fest premiere of “All the Money in the World” has been cancelled due to the Kevin Spacey sexual misconduct scandal. Spacey has been removed from the film and has been replaced by Christopher Plummer.

AS PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED

AFI FEST takes place November 9–16, 2017, in the heart of Hollywood.  Screenings, Galas and other events will be held at the TCL Chinese Theatre, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres, the Egyptian Theatre and The Hollywood Roosevelt.  The full festival lineup and schedule will be unveiled in October.

Additionally the New Auteurs and American Independent sections have been announced and more information about these sections can be found here.

The Opening Night Gala will be MUDBOUND (DIR Dee Rees) on Thursday, November 9.

This year, AFI FEST will present a retrospective of the work of Robert Altman (1925–2006), with screenings and discussions of 12 films:  M*A*S*H (1970), MCCABE & MRS. MILLER (1971), THE LONG GOODBYE (1973), CALIFORNIA SPLIT (1974), NASHVILLE (1975), 3 WOMEN (1977), VINCENT & THEO (1990), THE PLAYER (1992), SHORT CUTS (1993), KANSAS CITY (1996), GOSFORD PARK (2001) and A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION (2006).

New educational experiences taking place as part of the festival this year include an AFI FEST Storytelling Bootcamp for Los Angeles Unified School District students.

AFI FEST will once again bring the best in global cinema to Los Angeles thanks to the visionary support of Audi — now in its 14th consecutive year as presenting sponsor of the festival.  An enduring champion of the motion picture arts, Audi nurtures new and established voices through its support of AFI FEST and beyond, including the Audi Fellowship for Women at the AFI Conservatory, a new full-tuition scholarship investing in the future of female directors in film and television.

Patron packages ensure reserved seats for Closing Night, and all proceeds benefit the educational programs of the American Film Institute.  A limited number of individual tickets to Closing Night and other screenings are also made available at no charge thanks to the event sponsors.  Go to AFI.com now to purchase Patron Packages, which can include access to Galas and other high-demand films and events. Individual tickets will be available on AFI.com beginning November 1.

As part of their membership benefits, AFI members will receive a complimentary AFI FEST Cinepass, which allows access to all regular screenings and special offers at this year’s festival.  Additionally, AFI members at the Two-Star level and above receive a 10% discount on all AFI FEST Patron Packages and Express Passes.  Information about AFI membership is available at AFI.com/membership

Audi is the exclusive presenting sponsor of AFI FEST 2017.  Additional top sponsors include AT&T; American Airlines, the official airline of AFI; and VIZIO, the official home theater sponsor of AFI.

2017 FEARnyc: full lineup announced

September 25, 2017

FEARnyc logo

The following is a press release from FEARnyc:

FEARnyc, New York City’s most terrifying horror film festival, has announced the lineup for the 2017 festival. Sponsored by Bloody Disgusting and Dread Central, FEARnyc will be held October 27-29, 2017 at The Producer’s Club Sonnet Theater in Times Square.

FEARnyc will feature 30 new horror films including the world premieres of Inoperable starring scream queen Danielle Harris (Halloween), Brent Nurse and Steven Spencer’s Boneyard, and Brandon Graham’s Flesh Blanket, starring comedian Ramsey Moore in his final performance. The festival will also feature the North American premiere of Adam Graveley’s 3rd Night, the East Coast premieres of Kai E. Bogatzki’s Scars of Xavier, Sean Patrick O’Reilly’s Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom, Joseph Terhaar’s Nudist of the Living Dead, and James Rewucki’s Tempus Tormentum, and the New York City premiere of Nicholas Paul Pontoski’s Within the Woods of Undead County.

The festival will feature a special screening of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead performed with a live score by Ben Singer of Modern Robot. The screening is part of FEARnyc’s 2017 tribute to Mr. Romero, recipient of this year’s Legacy Honor.

A complete list and description of the films can be found below. Most screenings will be followed by a live Q&A with the directors, writers, producers, and casts.

“This year’s lineup is full of memorable, intelligent, and downright scary horror films, many of which are making their debut on the big screen,” said John Capo, founder and festival director of FEARnyc. “Our audience will be among the first in the world to see these terrifying new films and get to meet and mingle with the writers, directors, and casts on the weekend leading up to Halloween.

The Distinguished Jury for FEARnyc 2017 includes Michael Boiselle (Senior Film Critic, Dread Central), Terry Castle (Producer, House on Haunted Hill, Thirteen Ghosts), Jay Kay (Journalist, Horror Happens, Icons of Fright, Horror Hound Magazine), Jim Klock (Executive, Terror Films), Brad Miska (Producer, V/H/S, Southbound; Editor-in-Chief, Bloody Disgusting), Lee Peterson (Indie Theater Programmer), Peter Phok (Producer, The House of the Devil, I Sell the Dead, Stake Land), Johnny Recher (Asst. Director, The Purge: Election Year, Underworld Awakening), Jeffrey Reddick (Screenwriter, Final Destination, Dead Awake), Joshua Rothkopf (Film Editor, Time Out New York), Kate Siegel (Screenwriter and Actress, Hush), Stacy Title (Director, The Bye Bye Man) and Dee Wallace (Actress, The Howling, Cujo, E.T: The Extra Terrestrial).

Tickets for each film are $15, which includes access to the post-screening Q&A. All Access 3-Day Festival Passes are also available for $125. To purchase tickets, visit www.FEARnyc.com

The Producer’s Club Sonnet Theater is located at 358 West 44th Street.

For more information visit www.FEARnyc.com

FEARnyc 2017 Schedule

 

Friday, October 27

6pm — Welcome Party

Join FEARnyc filmmakers, staff, and special guests as we celebrate the opening of FEARnyc.

 

7pm – Opening Night Film: Scars of Xavier

East Coast Premiere

Director: Kai E. Bogatzki

Germany; 89 min

Followed by a Q&A with the director and cast

"Scars of Xavier" (Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)
“Scars of Xavier” (Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

Xavier lives an apparently uneventful life on the fringes of Prague’s society. The introverted man in his mid-forties spends his days keeping to himself and avoiding the limelight. At night, however, his true colors reveal themselves as a brutal serial killer, picking up young women and brutally murdering them, his deeds not seeming to follow any predetermined pattern.

 

9pm — Boneyard

World Premiere

Directors: Brent Nurse, Steven Spencer

Canada, 98 min

Followed by a Q&A with the directors and screenwrit

“Boneyard” (Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

Jane and David Morrison, a couple from the city, flee to a secluded farmhouse ahead of a mounting scandal that threatens to ruin them.  Jane, unsure of her husband’s guilt or innocence, takes a fateful walk in the woods, and discovers The Boneyard, an ancient graveyard that local legends say is haunted.  In the wake of her discovery, Jane is plagued by visions, but is her mind falling apart, or is the shadow from the woods reaching out to her, scratching on the walls of reality, trying to break in?   

Saturday, October 28

9:30am — Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom

East Coast Premiere

Director: Sean Patrick O’Reilly

Canada, 79 min, Animated

“Howard Lovecraf and the Undersea World” (Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

Before he becomes the famed horror writer H. P. Lovecraft, young Howard Lovecraft is a curious and imaginative boy living with his mother, because his father is locked up in Arkham Sanitarium. But after his mother unwittingly gave Howard the legendary Necronomicon, Howard went to a dangerous and frozen land where he saved and befriended a monstrous creature he named Spot. Howard thought that was behind him, but now there is a new threat, and only Howard and Spot can save the day. Howard’s mother has been kidnapped and evil forces are turning Howard into a fish creature. Howard will have to find his father’s old journals if there is any hope to save him mother and himself.

 

11am — Shorts Block: Sci-Fi, The Supernatural, and The Unexplained

Followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers

 

Level

New York City Premiere

Director: Andrew Hunt

Minneapolis, 19 min

‘Level” (Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

Trapped in a never-ending nightmare, a cat and mouse game plays out between a man and a hellish beast lurking in the shadows.

 

Adam Peiper

Director: Monica Mateo

Spain, 17 min

“Adam Peiper” Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

An enveloper of a tasks depot works tirelessly. What appears to be a dull and machining day will become his worst nightmare.

 

Tethered

New York City Premiere

Director: Daniel Robinette

Greensboro, 12 min

“Tethered” (Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

Abandoned by his mother, Solomon is left to live in isolation while abiding by three rules. Having grown accustomed to his routine, he begins to realize the rules may be a hindrance to a life-changing discovery.

 

Fe

U.S. Premiere

Director: Juan de Dios Garduño

Spain, 11min

“Fe” (Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

Adolfo, the town’s priest, gets a phone call from a desperate family. They believe that their daughter is possessed by the devil, but things are not what they seem.

 

Three Skeleton Key

New York City Premiere

Director: Andrew Hamer

Los Angeles, 11 min

“Three Skeleton Key’ (Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

Set in 1921, an American lighthouse crew on the small island of Three Skeleton Key become unnerved when a ship ignores their beacon, running aground on the reefs surrounding the island. They soon discover that something is on board the ship, and it’s not human.

 

Sol

New York City Premiere

Director: Carlos G. Gananian

Brazil, 14 min

“Sol” (Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

That voice in her head. It just won’t let go.

 

Drip

New York City Premiere

Director: Christopher West

Los Angeles, 13 min

“Drip” (Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

A young woman moves into a new apartment and wakes up the next day to find a picture on her phone of her sleeping.

 

1pm — Panel Discussion: Masters of Horror

Join horror filmmakers, journalists, and experts as they discuss the works of some of the masters of horror from yesterday and today and speculate on where the genre is heading.

 

3pm — Steven Berkoff’s Tell Tale Heart

Director: Stephen Cookson

United Kingdom, 83 min

‘”Steven Berkoff’s Tell Tale Heart” (Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

Steven Berkoff’s interpretation of Edgar Allan Poe’s short story about a servant who plots to murder his master because of his “vulture” eye. Starring Steven Berkoff and Henry Goodman.

 

5pm — Flesh Blanket

World Premiere

Director: Brandon Graham

Los Angeles, 86 min

Followed by a Q&A with the director and producer

“Flesh Blanket” (Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

A selfish filmmaker fails at creating the cutting-edge freedom of speech documentary he had envisioned and inadvertently unleashes holy hell from a 500-pound comedian on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Starring Ramsey Moore in his final performance and a cast of stand-up comedians.

 

7pm — Zombie Double Feature

Nudist of the Living Dead

East Coast Premiere

Director: Joseph Terhaar

Minneapolis, 24 min

“Nudist of the Living Dead” (Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

A young man gets caught with his pants down, literally, as the zombie apocalypse begins. Unable to find shelter or clothing he must make a go of it with the help of an eccentric neighbor.

 

Within the Woods of Undead County

New York City Premiere

Director: Nicholas Paul Pontoski

Philadelphia, 80 min

Followed by a Q&A with the screenwriter

(“Within the Woods of Undead County” Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

Four people escape into the woods outside Philadelphia after the release of a pharmaceutical drug turns its residents into members of the undead.

 

9:30pm: Night of the Living Dead: The Live Event

Director: George A. Romero, 97 min

It’s the zombie classic as you’ve never seen it before, performed with a live score by Ben Singer of Modern Robot. There is panic throughout the nation as the dead suddenly come back to life. The film follows a group of characters who barricade themselves in an old farmhouse in an attempt to remain safe from these flesh-eating monsters. Part of FEARnyc’s tribute to 2017 Legacy Honoree George A. Romero, featuring a special introduction by Tyler Hixson.

 

Sunday, October 29

9:30am — Shorts Block: Experimental Shorts

Followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers

 

Toward the Entryway

New York City Premiere

Director: Kyle Klubal

Big Bear, CA; 23 min

“Toward the Entryway”(Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

A haunting tale of the odd and macabre as a young woman is terrorized by several supernatural forces which may be real or only in her imagination.

 

Low Budget Nightmares

New York City Premiere

Director: Raistlin Skelley

Aliquippa, PA; 21 min

“Low Budget Nightmares” (Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

A blood-soaked love letter to no-budget horror video classics of the 70’s and 80’s. A series of four short stories take our hero on a paranoid journey through nightmares fed on horror movies and television.

 

Through the Wide Gate

World Premiere

Director: Patrick Clement

New York; 15 min

“Through the Wide Gate” (Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

A sensitive young woman stalks a romantic rival in this 1970’s-revival psychological drama.

 

11am — Charismata

New York City Premiere

Directors: Andy Collier, Tor Mian

United Kingdom, 97 min

Followed by a Q&A with the director, producer, and cast

“Charismata” (Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

Rebecca Faraway fears she might be out of her depth. As a rookie detective struggling to find acceptance in a police department defined by a culture of intolernace, things go from bad to worse when the chief suspect in a series of brutal ritualistic murders takes a personal interest in her. A game of cat and mouse finds Rebecca’s grasp on reality beginning to spiral out of control, leading to a terrifying climax where she needs to fight for her life, her sanity, and maybe even her soul.

1pm — Shorts Block: Psycho Killers, Crazy Clowns, and Babysitters in Peril

Followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers

 

Your Date is Here

New York City Premiere

Directors: Todd Spence, Zak White

Los Angeles, 7 min

“Your Date Is Here” (Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

After dusting off an old Mystery Date-style board game, a mother and daughter realize the game holds more evil than amusement.

 

Crave

New York City Premiere

Director: Carl Shanahan

United Kingdom, 9 min

“Crave” (Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

Rob sits with a small group of misfits, each waiting for an appointment with Edmund. As one sweaty, confused client leaves the room, Rob braces himself and enters Edmund’s chamber, leaving the other strangers waiting in silence. As the queue of clients continue to wait outside, Rob has to decide whether to indulge his fantasy at whatever cost or face the repercussions of his exchange with Edmund.

 

Balloon

New York City Premiere

Director: Mitchell Slan

North Hollywood, 14 min

“Balloon” (Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

Penny and her therapist battle her phobia of balloons through psychological experimentation.

 

Bubblebath

World Premiere

Director: Frederik von Lüttichau

Germany, 6 min

“Bubblebath” (Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

When Helen takes a bubble bath, she gets a sudden visit.

 

Don’t Ever Change

East Coast Premiere

Director: Don Swaynos

Austin, 10 min

A reunion between a woman and her estranged daughter is interrupted by a stranger with an unusual request.

 

Rotary

New York City Premiere

Director: Lorenzo P. Adams

Galax, VA; 11 min

“Rotary” (Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

In 1968, a young babysitter’s evening is interrupted by strange and unsettling occurrences.

 

First Date

World Premiere

Director: Kyle Martin

Philadelphia, 6 min

“First Date” (Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

A man and woman share an unforgettable night together.

 

The Jitterman

New York City Premiere

Director: Alex Mathieson

United Kingdom, 13 min

“Jitterman” (Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

A babysitter, alone in a house, is tormented by an evil entity.

 

3pm — Tempus Tormentum

East Coast Premiere

Director: James Rewucki

Canada, 82 min

Followed by a Q&A with the creative team

“Tempus Tormentum”(Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

A drifter passing through a small town is drugged by three masked psychopaths and forced into a bizarre game of cat and mouse. He is chased through a series of more and more bizarre events until, in the end, he finds that this evening of terror has lasting consequences. It’s a feel bad film, nasty and brutish, red in tooth and claw. 

 

5pm — 3rd Night

North American Premiere

Director: Adam Graveley

Australia, 72 min

Followed by a Q&A with the director

“3rd Night” (Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

A couple move to an Australian orchard surrounded by natural bushland to escape the madness of modern life but are terrorized by the mysterious Watcher.

 

7pm — Closing Night Film: Inoperable

World Premiere

Director: Christopher Chapman

Tampa, 85 min

Followed by a Q&A with the director, screenwriter, and producer

“Inoperable” (Photo courtesy of FEARnyc)

Amy (Scream Queen Danielle Harris from the Halloween franchise), presumably injured in a car accident, wakes up in a hospital. Although she feels like she is recovering from an injury, she doesn’t know how, or why, she is there.

 

9pm — FEARnyc Award Ceremony and Tribute to George A. Romero

Celebrate the Best of the Fest as we announce the winners of Best Feature, Best Director, Best Actor and Actress, and more. Featuring a special tribute to 2017 Legacy Honoree George A. Romero.

2017 Newfest: full lineup announced

September 19, 2017

NewFest logo

The following is a press release from Newfest:

Following the announcement of their Opening, Closing and Centerpiece films, NewFest, which is programmed in partnership with Outfest, today announced the full lineup of their 29th annual celebration of the year’s best LGBT films from around the world. The program of more than 140 narrative features, documentaries, episodic series and shorts runs from October 19-24 at the SVA Theatre, Cinépolis Chelsea, and The LGBT Community Center in New York City.

In addition to the previously announced galas, this year’s festival will also feature a Spotlight Screening & Conversation presentation of Angela Robinson’s PROFESSOR MARSTON & THE WONDER WOMEN, the story of how the superhero Wonder Woman came to be and the secret life of her creator, Dr. William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans), his wife Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall) and their lover Olive (Bella Heathcote). The screening will be followed by a conversation on bisexuality and polyamory with director Angela Robinson and guests to be announced.

This year NewFest received a wealth of international submissions, with films being submitted from 34 countries spread across 6 continents, and 33 percent of the features were directed by women. Overall, the festival will screen 40 feature length films (including over 20 feature works from first-time feature filmmakers, such as Trudie Styler), 97 shorts and an episodic sidebar featuring 8 web-based projects for a total of 145 selections. The US Narrative, International Narrative and Documentary  Feature sections will include 11 films in each group, with 16 countries represented, including new works from the Philippines, Canada, Chile, Germany, Finland, Qatar, India, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

“This year’s festival takes a cross-generational look at the LGBTQ community through the lens of our history, our culture, and our sexual and gender identities,” said Executive Director Robert Kushner. “Through these established filmmakers and vibrant emerging voices of LGBTQ cinema, we’re given the opportunity to reflect on our progress, highlight our strengths, and illuminate the challenges we experience both as individuals and as a community.”

“We are so proud of the caliber of films in this year’s NewFest lineup. The work from this year’s creatives shares a collective queer consciousness–looking at sexual fluidity, the gender spectrum, and resistance as a way of life,” said Director of Programming Lucy Mukerjee-Brown. “We’ve collected stories from our queer family across the globe in order to inspire New Yorkers for the 29th year in a row. Join us to take part in the post-screening conversations and make a statement about the value of LGBTQ visibility and community.”

“The varied stories and forms from around the world within this year’s electric festival program spiritually emulate the vitality of New York’s LGBTQ cultural and political landscape both past and present,” said NewFest’s Programming and Operations Manager Nick McCarthy. “And with so many New York-set films, we’re beyond excited to provide a space and platform for multiple storytellers to reflect on the LGBT experience through the power of cinema in their hometown. We are all looking forward to sharing the auspicious work of our talented filmmakers with the audiences of New York, and to facilitate engagement between artists and guests–highlighting the unity within community .”

New feature-length work includes narratives DISCREET from Travis Mathews (INTERIOR. LEATHER BAR), Canadian entry PORCUPINE LAKE from Ingrid Veninger (THE ANIMAL PROJECT) and the BBC-produced AGAINST THE LAW from Fergus O’Brien, documentaries MY WONDERFUL WEST BERLIN from German filmmaker Jochen Hick (THE GOOD AMERICAN), OUT OF ORDER from Amanda Bluglass (VIVA) and BONES OF CONTENTION from Emmy-winner Andrea Weiss (U.N. Fever). The festival also includes exciting premieres of debut features such as FREAK SHOW from Trudie Styler, starring Bette Midler, Abigail Breslin, AnnaSophia Robb, Laverne Cox, John McEnroe and Larry Pine, ONE LAST THING from Tim Rouhana, starring Wendall Pierce (THE WIRE) and Jurnee Smollet, as well as Jennifer Gerber’s THE REVIVAL, Mike Roma’s DATING MY MOTHER, Samantha Lee’s MAYBE TOMORROW, Gail Freedman’s HOT TO TROT, and Lara Embry and Carolyn Sherer’s ALABAMA BOUND, among others.

Rounding out the US Narrative offerings are Christopher Schaap’s PROM KING, 2010, David Berry’s SOMETHING LIKE SUMMER, William Sullivan’s THE RING THING, Jenée LaMarque‘s THE FEELS, Albert Alarr’s A MILLION HAPPY NOWS and Anahita Ghazvinizadeh’s THEY, while Itako’s BOYS FOR SALE, Paul Oremland’s 100 MEN, Jeffrey Schwarz’s THE FABULOUS ALLAN CARR, Tristan Milewski’s DREAM BOAT and Arshad Khan’s ABU complete the feature length documentary entries.

The remaining International narratives include Marília Hughes and Guerreiro Cláudio Marques’ THE CITY OF THE FUTURE (Brazil), Carlos Lechuga’s SANTA & ANDRES (Cuba), Darren Thornton’s A DATE FOR MAD MARY (Ireland), Victor Villanueva’s  JESUS IS DEAD (the Philippines, East Coast Premiere), Joselito Altarejos’ TALE OF THE LOST BOYS (Taiwan, the Philippines, North American Premiere), Lokesh Kumar’s MY SON IS GAY (India, North American Premiere), Nicolas Videla’s THE DEVIL’S MAGNIFICENT (Chile, International Premiere) and Nils-Erik Ekblom’s SCREWED (Finland).

Through the film selection process this year’s event, the festival’s programming team chose to highlight several themes, including the history of LGBT activism in New York City, the global condition of LGBT communities and the ways in which different generations of LGBT artists, activists and storytellers influence each other by looking both backwards and forward in time.

To that end, they chose to program a Legacy section of shorts entitled Out of the Archive: Queer New York, containing 7 short films spanning the past 50 years of LGBT filmmaking, including a 2010 short documentary from Ira Sachs comprised of footage of the exteriors of houses where New York artists were living when they died of AIDS; QUEENS AT HEART, a short doc about two pre-Stonewall transgender women; and I NEVER DANCED THE WAY GIRLS WERE SUPPOSED TO, Dawn Suggs’ mediation on black lesbian subjectivity.

The Legacy feature is Hettie Macdonald’s 1996 narrative feature BEAUTIFUL THING. Two decades after its initial release, the film still stands as one of the most poignant and honest depictions of the coming-out process ever presented on screen, and represents this year’s festival’s theme of self-expression.

Considering the massive growth in LGBT-oriented TV and web-based episodic content over the past several years and a successful panel last year focused on Queer Storytelling in a Digital Age,  NewFest decided to add an Episodic Showcase that is comprised of three episodic programs for 2017, and including works such as Brooklyn-local Chanelle Aponte Pearson’s 195 LEWIS; THE T; DARLING SHEAR; Andre Perez’s AMERICA IN TRANSITION; Kit Williamson’s EASTSIDERS; MARICAS; and SNUGGLR.

This year’s lineup of 97 new LGBT shorts have been divided into thematic programs, as follows:

DRAWN THIS WAY: QUEER ANIMATION

This bold and inventive series of formally adventurous and engaging shorts highlights animation’s varied capacity to capture self-expression, identity, and communication. Beauty encompasses the fluidity of everyday life, whether going for a swim, cooking your father’s favorite dish, or reconnecting with a lost love. This eclectic combination of narrative and nonfiction works features stories from all around the world, yet possesses universal qualities and a brilliantly beating heart at its core. Audacious, heart-warming, inspiring, and a little absurdist—get ready for a gorgeously realized emotional roller coaster!

YOUNG, QUEER & WOKE

A collection of films announcing a generation coming into its own—unwilling to allow traditional boundaries to restrict them or their stories. Whether navigating crushes, discovering and celebrating their identity, or reconciling who they truly are with family, these protagonists use their queer sensibilities to do it with style. They may not be able to vote, drink, or rent a car legally, but this program illustrates there’s no minimum age to have self-love and be yourself without fear. Appropriate for ages 13 and up.

THE QUEER RESISTANCE

We’re in the fight of our lives, and these shorts give us the pep talk we’ll need to keep going. Resistance is fertile material for the talented filmmakers in this lineup. Whether it’s personal, political, or visceral—the queer experience is intertwined with the need to push back against authority. The year 2017 has provided us with many opportunities to exist out loud and make our voices heard. Find inspiration on screen with this program!

MILITARY SHORTS

Moving from the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” to a more welcoming military, and then moving in reverse with President Trump’s Executive Order at hand, LGBTQ people have faced excessive trauma in the US Armed Forces. From returning home to family discoveries to dealing with the lasting effects of service to the daily struggles of trans military, these stories explore different perspectives of queer identity in relationship to life in the armed forces.

BEYOND THE BINARY

Gender is expansive and fluid–more than just “masculine” and “feminine.” Mixing non-fiction and narrative filmmaking, this program goes beyond the binary to delve into the lives and stories of people of trans and intersex experience. Exploring familial relationships, acceptance from peers, self-discovery, and more, this program is an honest snapshot of what it means to live outside restrictive gender boundaries today.

FAITH AND FURY

At a time when the Church still seems far away from fully accepting queer and trans folks, we bring together stories from all over the world about love and resilience to offer examples for living fully—and with faith. LGBTQ+ people are once again forced to defend ourselves against bigotry and oppression in a world where it is often easier to ignore the hearts and lives of real people in favor of adhering to ancient doctrine.

GIRLS SHORTS

The future is bright for the young women in this program of female-focused stories. Love, lust, and all the tension in between are included in a collection that truly represents this moment in history, exploring best friends, lovers, loss, and femininity.  It’s an inclusive and impactful look at what it means to be a girl, a woman, a fighter, and an inspiration to others. Most importantly, it’s a good time!

BOYS SHORTS

Our signature showcase of gay men’s stories is back and this year’s lineup is hot, hilarious and heartwarming.  From a gay uncle with dating tips for his newly out nephew, a closeted 20-something using his best friend as a beard, anonymous fellatio, an unlikely adoption, a poolside reunion, a wedding invitation, and the question we’ve all contemplated: can two men go from hooking up to dating? These adventurous shorts are sure to  capture your imagination.

QUEER + POSITIVE

For 35 years, the LGBTQ community has been impacted by HIV/AIDS. This collection of shorts give us an intimate look at what it means to live positively, from waiting for test results, to how HIV/AIDS affects specific communities to the realities of day-to-day life. Take a look at where this epidemic stands today, from a contemporary perspective.

EXPERIMENTS IN SEX, LOVE & GENDER

Formations of gender, relationships, and love intersect with comedy, contemplation, exploration, and computer code in this queer experimental program that weaves a rich tapestry of gender and sexual identity that overlap in nuanced and multidimensional ways. You’ll see Love Bailey’s libertines and harlots SLATHER IT UP, explore the seedy world of Echo Park’s underground cactus scene with REDMOND HAND, PRIVATE DICK, and will be asked reflect on time, love, and aging by Robert Gray’s 3 CAFES and Tristian Scott’s CURTAIN DOWN.

Complete Feature Film Lineup:

Opening Night Film & Party

Susanne Bartsch: On Top

New York Premiere

Dir. Anthony & Alex, USA, 2017, 84 mins

A mesmerizingly expressive portrait of a fiercely individual New York counterculture icon, SUSANNE BARTSCH: ON TOP candidly captures the titular “Queen of the Night” and patron saint of LGBTQ inclusion and advocacy with a commanding voice and sharp wit, much like its subject. More than just a tribute to the “Queen of the Night” and staunch LGBTQ advocate, this dynamic debut from directing duo Anthony&Alex captures the essence of Bartsch’s everyday balance between compassion and control. As Bartsch prepares for an FIT exhibit of her nightlife fashions, she faces the challenges of a changing New York City landscape (as well as the construction within her homestead of many decades, the iconic Chelsea Hotel) while reconciling how her legacy lives on today.

Her ability to bring communities together while promoting LGBT rights and self-expression reached its apex with the star-studded Love Ball in 1989, which she hosted to raise money to fight AIDS and celebrated the Harlem Vogue scene before “Paris is Burning” was released. And she continues to gather and inspire multi-generational crowds at her parties to this day. Featuring superstars and LGBTQ nightlife luminaries RuPaul, Simon Doonan, Michael Musto, and Amanda Lepore, this dazzling documentary homecoming for a living icon who has unapologetically been a champion for all things New York and queer.

The screening will be followed by a talkback with Anthony&Alex and Susanne Bartsch, and moderated by Michael Musto.

New York Centerpiece Film

After Louie

New York City Premiere

Dir. Vincent Gagliostro, USA, 2017, 100mins

Sam (Alan Cumming) is an artist and activist from ACT UP who lived through the early years of HIV/AIDS, struggling with survivor’s guilt. He’s bewildered by the younger generation of gay men, until he meets the seductive Braeden (Zachary Booth, KEEP THE LIGHTS ON) at a bar late one night. Their pants quickly come down and, eventually, so does Sam’s guard. An intergenerational relationship blossoms between them—reawakening Sam’s artistic soul and reviving his wilted heart.

Beyond the beautifully evocative performances and setting, Vincent Gagliostro’s AFTER LOUIE is a love letter to New York City: engaging its rich backdrop while honoring the history of the gay rights movement and the progress that’s been made–reconciling the past so we as a community can look forward to the future.

International Centerpiece Film

God’s Own Country

New York Premiere

Dir. Francis Lee, United Kingdom, 2017, 104 mins

Gritty yet tender, austere yet beautiful, carnal yet romantic–GOD’S OWN COUNTRY is masterfully directed with powerful focus and authenticity by first-time feature filmmaker Francis Lee. Johnny Saxby (Josh O’Connor) is an overworked 25-year-old sheep farmer who feels as though life has already passed him by. He whiles away the time with drunken hookups in his small community in Northern England. When his ailing father takes a turn for the worse, handsome Romanian migrant Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu) is brought in to assist Johnny. Although Johnny resents Gheorghe at first, the two are quickly drawn to each other, and during an excursion to the highlands, they forge an even deeper connection. Winner of Sundance’s World Cinema Directing Award for its beautiful depiction of the English countryside—this assured new milestone marks a bold new epoch in textured, LGBTQ storytelling.

Closing Night Film & Party

Becks

Following a NYC to LA cross country move that ends in a breakup, singer-songwriter Becks (Lena Hall, a Tony Winner for Hedwig and the Angry Inch) returns to her Midwestern hometown, reluctantly moving back in with her mom. The time-warp sensation of being back in her childhood home is interrupted by an unexpected whirlwind affair with self-proclaimed “lonely housewife” Elyse (tenderly played with exceeding warmth by Mena Suvari) whom finds inspired new life through the guitar lessons and generous spirit Becks provides.

This electrifyingly effusive film from co-directors Daniel Powell and Elizabeth Rohrbaugh features strong supporting turns by Dan Fogler as her old classmate-turned-drinking-buddy and Christine Lahti as Becks’ former nun mother who is still coming to terms with her daughter’s homosexuality. But it’s Lena Hall, who contributed original songs to the film and delivers a beautifully assured, live-in performance that makes BECKS really sing.

Special live acoustic performance by Tony Award winner and Grammy Award nominee Lena Hall, the star of BECKS.

US NARRATIVE

A Million Happy Nows

New York Premiere

Dir. Albert Alarr, USA, 2016, 80mins

FilmOut Festival Award, FilmOut San Diego

Concerned by her difficulty memorizing lines, veteran actress Lainey (Crystal Chappell), decides not to renew her soap opera contract. After a visit to the doctor, she is diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, and Lainey and her longtime partner Eva (Jessica Leccia) must now learn how to navigate this unexpected terrain and make the most of their time together. Chronicling Lainey’s illness and their unconditional love, the film provides a million reasons why we all need to appreciate love to the fullest.

Dating My Mother

New York Premiere

Dir. Mike Roma, US, 2016, 84 min

Freshly out of college with a liberal arts degree and without employment and romance, Danny spends his days in suburban New Jersey aimlessly browsing dating apps or knocking back red wine. His mother, Joan (Kathryn Erbe, Law & Order: Criminal Intent ), is also looking to strike up romance for the first time since Danny’s father passed away. Drawing insightful and hilarious parallels between the two generations’ dating routines and varying levels of confidence, this sweet and spiky comedy also features delightful supporting turns by G.B.F.’s Paul Iacono and the always reliably funny Kathy Najimy.

Discreet

New York Premiere

Dir. Travis Mathews, US, 2017, 80 mins

The director of I WANT YOUR LOVE and INTERIOR. LEATHER BAR. returns with another provocative feature pushing buttons and envelopes. Filmmaker Alex wanders the rural countryside, listening to hate-filled talk radio and indulging in anonymous sex in video booths. After an uncomfortable visit with his mother, Alex seeks a figure from his past, slowly dying in a mysterious compound far from society. This blistering exploration of trauma reverberates from childhood to adulthood, offering neither easy answers nor simple explanations.

Freak Show

New York Premiere

Dir. Trudie Styler, US, 2017, 95 mins,

Teenager Billy Bloom (Alex Lawther, THE IMITATION GAME) learned fabulousness at the feet of his larger-than-life Muvv (Bette Midler). But when he’s shipped off to live with his conservative father (Larry Pine), Billy’s classmates at Ulysses S. Grant Academy don’t know what to make of this flamboyant newcomer and his seemingly endless array of colorful ensembles (with matching makeup). After being severely bullied, Billy bounces back with the help of his new friends, sensitive jock Flip (Ian Nelson, THE HUNGER GAMES) and the loquacious BlahBlahBlah (AnnaSophia Robb). Eventually, our glamorous hero decides to wave his freak flag as high as he can by running for homecoming queen, even if that means facing off against Bible-thumping mean girl Lynette (Abigail Breslin). Based on the novel by James St. James, the film features a superb ensemble cast, including Laverne Cox, Celia Weston, and Willa Fitzgerald (MTV’s SCREAM). It’s a charming coming-of-age tale—as witty and as fearless as its protagonist—that celebrates the outsider within us all.

One Last Thing

World Premiere

Dir. Tim Rouhana, US, 2016, 92 mins

A middle-aged dentist in Florida receives some unexpected news that upends his peaceful routine and sends him on a life-altering journey of discovery. Doctor Dylan Derringer (Wendell Pierce, THE WIRE) is content with his solitary life, but when a figure from his past re-emerges with information, Dylan drops everything to find Lucy (Jurnee Smollett), the twenty-five year old daughter he didn’t know he had. This African American family drama dares to crush cultural taboos with a heart-warming story of LGBTQ acceptance.

Prom King 2010

New York Premiere

Dir. Christopher Schaap, United States, 2017, 102 mins

New Vision Award, Feature Film, 2017 Cinequest San Jose Film Festival

Charlie, a 20-year-old movie-crazy college student, is looking for love in New York City, and having trouble reconciling the harsh realities of modern dating with the romantic ideals of the classic romantic films he idolizes. First-time director and star Christopher Schaap imbues Charlie with a recognizable honesty and vulnerability. Featuring strong widescreen location photography and an engaging cast, this feel-good romance is a genuine charmer.

Something Like Summer

New York Premiere

Dir. David Berry, US, 2017, 115 mins

Audience Award, Best First Narrative Feature, FilmOut San Diego

Benjamin is an out-of-the-closet theater kid, while Tim is the hunky town jock. When Benjamin discovers his attraction to Tim is reciprocated, this delightfully musical tale takes off. The boys’ relationship spans years, encapsulating all of the delirious highs and painful lows of young love. This crowd-pleaser brings a beloved series of YA novels to life as these two young men explore the complex lines between being friends, lovers, and strangers.

The Feels

East Coast Premiere

Dir. Jenée LaMarque , US, 2017, 90 mins

Outstanding Actress in a Feature Film, Outfest LA

Two brides-to-be (Angela Trimbur and FRESH OFF THE BOAT’S Constance Wu) throw a joint bachelorette party that ends up calling their whole relationship into question. Equal parts laughs, tears, and introspection, this modern take on a romantic comedy unravels the secrets that can plague even the strongest relationship. Outstanding performances and an earnest script make up the heart of this crazy-enjoyable film.

The Revival

East Coast Premiere

Jennifer Gerber, US, 2017, 84 mins,

When Eli begins preaching at his father’s old church, he is desperate to open the minds of the fire-and-brimstone congregation. His plans are quickly derailed when he strikes up a relationship with a fascinating drifter (played by Zachary Booth, KEEP THE LIGHTS ON). Tensions soon come to a head, with simmering resentments and repressed emotions all leading to a revival that will shake this sleepy Arkansas town to its core.

The Ring Thing

New York Premiere

Dir. William C. Sullivan, US, 2017, 106  mins

Real-life chemistry plays a huge role in this romantic drama about what happens in a relationship when a woman proposes to her girlfriend by accident. Peppered with real-life interviews from couples in the LGBTQ community, this story explores what it means to be in a partnership and how those connections change (or not!) when marriage is added to the mix. You’ll leave the theater reexamining what it means to be committed to your partner and committed to yourself.

They

New York City Premiere

Dir. Anahita Ghazvinizadeh, US/Qatar, 2017, 80 min

Fourteen-year-old J lingers somewhere between a state of suspended animation and arrested development. Asked to be referred to as “they,” J has quietly been taking hormone blockers for some time in order to delay the onset of puberty, while they contemplate whether to live an adult life as a female or a male. With a visit to the doctor imminent, J is joined in their Chicago suburb by their sister Lauren and her Iranian Boyfriend Araz, who bring in their own set of identity problems, as Araz struggles with his life as an immigrant living so far away from his homeland. Executive Produced by Jane Campion, Anahita Ghazvinizadeh’s THEY is a delicate and intimate look at the struggles of living a life in limbo.

INTERNATIONAL NARRATIVE

A Date For Mad Mary

New York City Premiere

Dir. Darren Thornton, Ireland, 2016, 82 mins

Dublin Film Critics Circle Awards – Won Breakthrough Award – Irish

Mary’s charms are undeniable in this Irish coming-of-age portrayal of the angsty path from youth to womanhood. Mary has just been released from a six-month prison stint for a drunken bar fight. Her best friend Charlene is now getting married and wants to keep Mary at a distance, alienating her from their circle of friends. An encounter with a queer musician changes Mary’s perspective and awakens her romantic spirit. Filmmaker Darren Thornton’s first feature is warm and instantly relatable.

Against The Law

New York Premiere

Dir. Fergus O’Brien, United Kingdom, 2017, 85 mins

Featuring a stunning mixture of biopic and documentary elements, this BBC-produced hybrid drama draws the historical line between 1950s gay repression in the UK and the process through which homosexuality was decriminalized in 1967–and received raves when it World Premiered as the Opening Night Gala of BFI Flare: London’s LGBT Film Festival. This affecting and alarming film cuts between the story of journalist and gay rights activist Peter Wildeblood (Daniel Mays), who was galvanized by the infamous 1954 trial that targeted and outed his friends, and real-life interviews with gay men who lived through this dark but not forgotten period in UK’s history.

Jesus Is Dead

East Coast Premiere

Dir. Victor Villanueva, the Philippines, 2016, 84 mins

QCinema International Film Festival 2016 – Won Gender Sensitivity Award

Iyay, an exhausted and weary single-mother of three, crams her reluctant children — transman Jude, dancer with Down Syndrome Bert, and non-achiever Jay — into her debilitated multicab, and together they take to the road in order to attend the funeral of their estranged patriarch. Gaining and losing an assortment of misfits and oddballs along the way, the family’s solemn journey quickly turns frenzied and uproarious as each new character adds a new dimension of humor and profound insight to their familial plight. Director Victor Villanueva delivers a heartwarming and utterly distinctive take on the family road trip film, reminiscent of the delightfully melancholic Little Miss Sunshine, while imbuing it with his own idiosyncratic, queer flourishes.

Maybe Tomorrow

East Coast Premiere

Dir. Samantha Lee, Philippines, 2016, 84 mins,

Alex is unapologetically out to everyone—the execs who want to remove the queer content from her TV pitch, her overbearing mom, her catty photographer friends—except to her BFF Jess, an up-and-coming TV starlet with whom she also happens to be madly in love. But when Alex’s secret is accidentally revealed, both girls are forced to confront their feelings and navigate the complications of their new relationship in Samantha Lee’s fun and flirtatious debut feature.

My Son Is Gay

North American Premiere

Dir Lokesh Kumar, India, 2017, 105 mins

In this moving Bollywood melodrama, Varun comes out to his best friend’s mother. When the news reaches his own mom Lakshmi, she rejects it, in disbelief that the perfect son she so adores could ever be gay. What follows is a portrayal of the entrenched prejudice that the LGBTQ community still face in India today. With Section 377, the law criminalizing same-sex relationships, currently under review by the courts, this is a timely and important take on queer rights and a test of a mother’s love for her son.

Porcupine Lake

East Coast Premiere

Dir. Ingrid Veninger, Canada, 2017, 84 mins

Bea (Charlotte Salisbury) has recently moved from Toronto to a quiet cottage in rural Ontario. Lonely and isolated, Bea finds solace when she befriends the elusive and alluring local-girl, Kate (Lucinda Armstrong Hall). The two girls forge an immediate bond as they both struggle to cope with their bewilderment at the volatility and chaos of their home lives and inner-worlds. In her sixth feature film, Ingrid Veninger depicts with candor and grace two girls dangling on the edge of adulthood, enjoy a fleeting summer of adventure and self-discovery.

Santa & Andres

New York Premiere

Dir. Carlos Lechuga, Cuba, Columbia, 2016, 105 mins

Guadalajara International Film Festival 2017 – 2nd Place – PREMIO MAGUEY – Best Feature Film

Cuba, 1981: For many, the wounds of the revolution have begun to heal, although there are still those who refuse to be compliant with the regime’s silencing of intellectuals and LGBTQ people. Gay writer Andrés spends three days under house arrest, supervised by young revolutionary Santa, who knows nothing of life away from the countryside. During this brief period, the pair form an unpredictable bond. Subtle and moving, yet boldly political and provocative, this is a story of day-to-day lives affected by sweeping change.

Screwed

New York City Premiere

Dir. Nils-Erik Ekblom, Finland, 2017, 100 mins

To celebrate the start of summer, 17-year-old Miku throws a wild party at his parent’s house, which turns destructive quickly. As punishment, Miku is forced to spend the rest of his summer with his provincial family at their secluded country cottage. In the rolling, pastoral Finnish countryside, Miku meets the alluring Elias. The two spend their summer inseparable, discovering themselves, their sexuality, and each other.

The City Of The Future

New York Premiere

Dir: Cláudio Marques and Marília Hughes, Brazil, 2016, 75 mins

In a remote part of Brazil, the triad of Mila, Igor, and Gilmar are determined to break away and form their own nontraditional family, defying the definitions that society has attempted to impose on them. As they prepare for the birth of their child, the three contemplate their intertwining relationships. Cláudio Marques and Marília Hughes Guerreiro have boldly collaborated on a naturalistic film that shuns convention, instead embracing love in all its dazzling iterations.

Tale of the Lost Boys

North American Premiere

Dir. Joselito Altarejos, Taiwan, the Philippines, 2016, 81 mins

Alex, a Filipino mechanic, and Jerry, a Taiwanese aborigine student meet randomly in a Taipei bar and a casual conversation develops into a surprising personal connection. Both realize that they yearn for a deeper relationship with their mothers, since Alex’s abandoned him for a new family, while Jerry is afraid that his will reject him for being gay. An impromptu road trip leads to experiences that will forever redefine their identities…

The Devil Is Magnificent (International Premiere)

International Premiere

Dir. Nicolas Videla, Chile, 2016, 68 mins

Exhausted by the difficulties of her life in the often-inhospitable Paris, Manu, a thirty-three year old trans immigrant, resigns to return to his native Chile after 10 years in France. In the days leading up to her departure, Manu’s platonic friend Daniel proposes marriage with the intention of solving her visa issues. Manu strongly considers the offer, but she’s wholly disheartened at the prospect of a life without love, romance, and sex. That is, until she meets a fellow foreigner who instills in her the hope for a romantic future.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURES

100 Men

East Coast Premiere

Dir. Paul Oremland, 2017, New Zealand, 2017, 94 mins

Kiwi director Paul Oremland tracks down 100 men he’s slept with in this personal, often humorous look at changing attitudes toward homosexuality over the past 40 years. Interviewed in New Zealand, England, and Poland, his eclectic subjects (including “Toilet Boy,” “Beach Boy,” and “Gary the Optician”) discuss coming out, AIDS, and gay marriage, acknowledging political gains even as some feel a sense of loss. Oremland’s journey brings him closer to these men, helping him realize he’s witnessing a revolution.

A Womb Of Their Own

East Coast Premiere

Dir. Cyn Lubow, USA, 2016, 85 mins

Depth of Field International Film Festival Competition – Won – Award of Exceptional Merit

Considered the exclusive domain of the female experience, pregnancy is generally viewed as the pinnacle of womanhood. But what happens when the act of being pregnant falls outside of the feminine and into a womb of its own? Exploring the experience of pregnancy among a group of diverse masculine-of-center-identified people, this documentary questions what it means to be pregnant and give birth as a masculine person, broadening our understanding of gender, sexuality, and parenthood.

Abu

East Coast Premiere

Dir. Arshad Khan, Canada, 2017, 80 mins

An intimately open and dazzling visual memoir about the complex dynamic the filmmaker has with his father, who was at once extremely modern and also rigidly traditional and unaccepting of his son’s true self. Director Arshad Khan highlights the fascinating intersection between being gay and being an immigrant, as he weaves a dizzying, hypnotic tapestry of personal and familial acceptance by employing home video, animation, and Bollywood films to express his path to self-discovery.

Alabama Bound

East Coast Premiere

Dir. Lara Embry and Carolyn Sherer, USA, 2017, 83 mins

Exploring the legal roller-coaster ride of LGBTQ family rights in the American South, ALABAMA BOUND offers an intimate view into the lives of three Lesbian families in Alabama, including The only openly-gay Alabama State Legislator Patricia Todd, as they make waves in the legal system fighting for the rights of their children. Set along side the turning-point years when federal marriage equality was coming to a head in the courts, this riveting and powerful documentary tactfully imbues the viewer with hope and frustration as Patricia Todd leads the charge in next wave of the LGBTQ fight for equality: legal Non-Discrimination.

Bones Of Contention

East Coast Premiere

Andrea Weiss, Spain and USA, 2017, 75 mins

The brutal Franco dictatorship continues to haunt Spain—literally, as some 120,000 skeletons of the Fascist leader’s enemies were buried in unmarked graves all over the country. If one man has come to symbolize all of these desaparecidos, it’s legendary poet and playwright Federico Garcia-Lorca, whom this film calls “the first LGBT victim of the Franco regime.” Director Andrea Weiss examines the men and women (including the writer’s niece, Laura) who recall Spain’s homophobic past and seek to exhume it by finding these remains.

Boys For Sale

East Coast Premiere

Dir. Itako, Japan, 2017, 76 mins

L.A. Outfest, Fox Inclusion Outfest Feature Award

In Tokyo’s Shinjuku district there are bars that specialize in “Urisen”, young guys who have sex with men. Featuring candid interviews and interspersed with animation detailing the awkward, sweet, and sometimes hilarious situations these sex workers experience, the boys for sale boldly tell their stories of life in the Tokyo underground. This doc is an illuminating look into a rarely seen world that tantalizingly shows the humanity of sex work.

Dream Boat

East Coast Premiere

Dir.  Tristan Milewski , Germany, 2017, 92 mins

Decked from port to starboard in tops and bottoms, this cruise sets sail every year with leagues of gay men hungry to find their own slice of paradise on the open seas. Far from their families and political restrictions, we follow five men from five countries on a quest for connection. International waters provide the perfect platform to explore the ecstasy, agony, hopes, and dreams that bridge this community behind the bacchanalia, revealing a manifest rife with intersections between the diverse identities aboard, a brotherhood across borders.

Hot to Trot

New York Premiere

Dir. Gail Freedman, US, 2017, 88 mins

Set in the swinging setting of same-sex competitive ballroom dancing, this tremendously entertaining documentary highlights the culture and art of dance as it humanistically profiles the compelling stories of four international dancers. Filmed over three years, director Gail Freedman closely follows the tight ensemble as they face global and health issues, yet they find comfort and hope as they twirl past life’s obstacles with the utmost poise and confidence. Who will take home the top prize and move closest to the rhythm? The heat is on in more ways than one. This special screening will be followed by a live dance exhibition with subjects from the film

My Wonderful West Berlin

East Coast Premiere

Dir. Jochen Hick, Germany 2017, 94 mins

Jochen Hick’s My Wonderful West Berlin reveals, through a precise combination of archival footage and interviews with Berlin’s most notable LGBTQ artists and thinkers, the burgeouning queer community that developed and flourished in post-war West Berlin, despite homophobic laws and public prejudice. Through their collective memories, we see the city transform from having a spirited yet clandestine underground queer community the ‘60s, to the tepid embracing of the gay movements in the ‘70s, to the tragic overlooking of first the horrific AIDS epidemic in the ‘80s. My Wonderful West Berlin chronicles, with profound insight and uncharted access, the immense depths and rich history of the city’s LGBTQ people.

Out Of Order

New York Premiere

Dir: Amanda Blueglass, USA, 2017, 60 mins

This groundbreaking documentary reveals the complex and painful struggles faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer faith leaders as they confront entrenched bigotry, and build loving support within their churches. Due to a growing fear and suspicion toward LGBTQ individuals, many queer parishoners still feel unwelcome in their faith. But a new kind of spiritual leader is pushing for acceptance. Weaving between the personal journeys of queer faith leaders, we witness their tireless work to push for acceptance beyond the wedding chapel, in order to ensure that LGBTQ folks know that they are loved, not only by God but also by their fellow worshippers.

The Fabulous Allan Carr

East Coast Premiere

Dir. Jeffrey Schwarz, USA, 2017, 90 mins

Director Jeffrey Schwarz (VITO, I AM DIVINE) returns with this fascinating look at Allan Carr, one of the most extravagant Hollywood figures of the 1970s and 80s. The film charts Carr’s rise from talent manager to megastar producer of GREASE, before he perpetrated the box-office blunders CAN’T STOP THE MUSIC and GREASE 2, as well as the disastrous 1989 Academy Awards ceremony. Featuring new interviews and archival footage of Carr’s legendary parties, this portrait of a showbiz legend is both hilarious and deeply sympathetic.

SPECIAL EVENTS

Spotlight Screening & Conversation

Professor Marston & The Wonder Women

Dir.  Angela Robinson , USA, 2017,  104 mins

In a superhero origin tale unlike any other, Angela Robinson’s entrancing film is the incredible true story of what inspired Harvard psychologist Dr. William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans) to create the iconic Wonder Woman character in the 1940’s. While Marston’s feminist superhero was criticized by censors for her ‘sexual perversity’, he was keeping a secret that could have destroyed him. Marston’s muses for the Wonder Woman character were his wife Elizabeth Marston (Rebecca Hall) and their lover Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote), two empowered women who defied convention: working with Marston on human behavior research — while building a hidden life with him that rivaled the greatest of superhero disguises.

BiView: Bisexuality Representation in Media

Panel Moderated by Eliel Cruz

Join leading bisexual activist and journalist Eliel Cruz and a panel of special guests to discuss bisexuality–arguably the most underrepresented identity in the LGBTQ spectrum. Fresh from a nationwide speaking tour for Bisexual Awareness Week, Eliel will lead the panelists through conversations on the fluidity of sexual and romantic attraction, polyamory, as well as the erasure of bi stories in media and the tangible effects of biphobia on screen. Do filmmakers and content creators have a responsibility to tell positive bi stories, and what are the politics you should be aware of in order to ensure impactful bi representation in your work? Meet these ambassadors of sexual fluidity, and join the conversation.

Drag Roast: The Roast of Sherry Vine

World Premiere

Dir: Evan Zampella and Kyle Burt, US, 2017, 65 min

Cruel, harsh, tasteless. And that’s just the roasters. Join us for a special screening of the DRAG ROAST of SHERRY VINE, as a panel of legendary New York nightlife performers grill a drag legend with more than 25 years of drag experience and tea to spill. Featuring Bob the Drag Queen, Ruby Roo, Monet Xchange, Anita Buffem, Miz Cracker, Sutton Lee Seymour, Marti Gould Cummings, Tina Burner and Special Guests.

EPISODIC SHOWCASE

Queer Women Mixtape

Featuring premieres of web-based content from Snugglr (46m) & 195 Lewis (45m)

Trans Tales

Featuring premieres of web-based content from The T (14m), Darling Shear (15m), America In Transition (20m)

For The Boys

Featuring premieres of web-based content from London Nights (3m), Eastsiders (30m), LA Nights (3m), Maricas (30m), Tel Aviv Nights (3m), Michaels (7m)

LEGACY FEATURE

BEAUTIFUL THING

Dir: Hettie Macdonald, United Kingdom, 1996, 90 min

Released in 1996, the beloved coming-of-age classic that tells the story of two teenage boys living in the same London housing project, who hold the same secret: they think they might be gay. After a fight with his abusive father, Ste ends up crashing in Jamie’s bed, allowing the two to open up to each other and begin the process of embracing their identities. Two decades after its initial release, the film still stands as one of the most poignant and honest depictions of the coming-out process ever presented on screen.

LEGACY SHORTS PROGRAM

Out of the Archive: Queer New York

An epicenter of queer culture, New York has long been a focal point of LGBTQ cinema. This program features both rare and restored short films (and sometimes raw footage) shot in New York City between the 1960s and 2000s by influential LGBTQ New York filmmakers, and presents the city’s history through a queer lens and even provides an early look at the trans experience. Run time: 84 minutes

Queens at Heart

Director unknown

1967

22 min.

Restored by the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project

This short exploitation documentary offers a glimpse into the lives of four transgender women in pre-Stonewall New York.

Epilogue/Siam

Tom Chomont

1968

6 min.

Restored by the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project

Filmmaker and curator Jim Hubbard states, “Chomont’s films offer a lyric depiction of the ordinary world.” Here, Chomont presents two portraits–one warm, and one cold.

Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day [excerpt]

Kate Millett and Susan Kleckner

1971

5 min.

Restored by the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project

Shot by the Millett, Kleckner, and an all-female crew, this raw footage documents New York’s second annual Christopher Street pride parade.

Alphabit Land: The Backyard Tour Featuring Wigstock 89

John Canalli

1990

28 min.

John Canalli takes his cousin on a tour of his Manhattan neighborhood. A search for the coolest party in town leads them to the annual Wigstock drag festival.

I Never Danced the Way Girls Were Supposed To

Dawn Suggs

1992

7 min.

Suggs meditates on Black lesbian subjectivity, exploring the connections between daily rituals and sexuality.

I Like Dreaming

1994

Directed by Charles Lofton

6 min.

Lofton muses on the pleasures of cruising “straight-acting, straight-appearing” men.

Last Address

Ira Sachs

2010

9 min.

Comprised of footage of the exteriors of houses where New York artists were living when they died of AIDS, this haunting film serves as an elegy to a generation of lost queer voices.

—-

Tickets for NewFest will go on sale to the general public on Tuesday, September 26th. A pre-sale to NewFest Members begins on Tuesday, September 19th for Platinum Members and above and Thursday, September 21st for all NewFest Members. Opening and Closing Night tickets, which include an after-party as well as the screening, are $60 and $50 respectively, $50 and $40 for NewFest Members. The Centerpiece Films are $20; $15 for NewFest Members. For all other screenings, tickets are $16; $12 for NewFest Members.

Visit www.newfest.org for details as well as complete film festival information.

 

2017 Toronto Film Festival: ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ wins People’s Choice Award

September 17, 2017

TIFF logo

The Toronto International Film Festival took place from September 7 to September 17, 2017. Here is  the list of this year’s TIFF award winners:

People’s Choice Awards

The Grolsch People’s Choice Award
Winner: Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
First runner-up: Craig Gillespie’s “I, Tonya”
Second runner-up: Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me By Your Name”

The Grolsch People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award
Winner: Joseph Kahn’s “Bodied”
First runner-up: James Franco’s “The Disaster Artist”
Second runner-up: Craig Zahler’s “Brawl in Cell Block 99”

The Grolsch People’s Choice Documentary Award
Winner: Agnès Varda and JR’s “Faces Places”
First runner-up: Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas De Pencier’s “Long Time Running”
Second runner-up: Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!”

International Jury Awards

Toronto Platform Prize Presented by Air France
Warwick Thornton’s “Sweet Country”

The Prizes of the International Federation of Film Critics (Fipreci Prizes)
Winner – Discovery: Sadaf Foroughi’s “Ava”
Winner – Special Presentations: Manuel Martín Cuenca’s “The Motive (El Autor)”

Netpac Award
Winner: Huang Hsin-Yao’s The Great Buddha+

Short Film Jury Awards

IWC Short Cuts Award for Best Canadian Short Film
Winner: Marc-Antoine Lemire’s Pre-Drink

IWC Short Cuts Award for Best Short Film
Winner: Niki Lindroth von Bahr’s The Burden (Min Börda)

Canadian Film Jury Awards

City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian Film
Winner: Wayne Wapeemukwa’s “Luk’ Luk’l”

Canada Goose Award for Best Canadian Feature Film
Winner: Robin Aubert’s “Les Affamés”

2017 NewFest: opening, closing, centerpiece films announced

September 12, 2017

NewFest logo

The following is a press release from NewFest:

NewFest has announced the Opening, Closing and Centerpiece films for their 29th annual celebration of the year’s best LGBT films, scheduled to run from October 19 – 24, 2017 at New York’s SVA Theatre, Cinépolis Chelsea, and The LGBT Community Center. With this year’s prominently featured presentations, NewFest’s programmers have chosen to showcase the glory and challenges that come with self-expression. The selections, in part, also provide a link between the past and present by highlighting the trails blazed by those who navigated the choppy waters of the ‘80s and ‘90s and inspired the next generation of LGBTQ artists and storytellers. Such legends of the music, fashion, and art worlds continue to impact LGBTQ lives, as the community’s resistance against continued prejudice is essential in these uncertain times. These four films–from the streets of NYC to the suburbs of St. Louis to bucolic United Kingdom–are emblematic of this approach in their own singular ways, as they each look back as much as they look forward over an ever-changing LGBTQ artistic landscape.

Kicking off this year’s event will be the New York premiere of Anthony&Alex’s highly anticipated and acclaimed film SUSANNE BARTSCH: ON TOP. The documentary is an inside look at the legendary New York City party promoter and LGBTQ advocate Susanne Bartsch and features a who’s who of NYC nightlife heroes, including RuPaul, Amanda Lepore, Michael Musto and Bill Cunningham. Following the screening, Michael Musto will moderate a special talkback with Susanne Bartsch and Anthony&Alex.

Continuing in the cross-generational vein is the New York premiere of Vincent Gagliostro’s AFTER LOUIE, which will screen as the festival’s New York Centerpiece film. Starring Alan Cumming and Zachary Booth (KEEP THE LIGHTS ON), AFTER LOUIE is a touching and lyrical cross-generational look at the effect the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic had on individuals and their art as well as at how that history informs and influences the most recent generation of creative LGBTQ New Yorkers.

GOD’S OWN COUNTRY is the award-winning feature-length debut from writer/director/actor Francis Lee and serves as the fest’s International Centerpiece film. This New York premiere introduces audiences to a bold new voice in LGBTQ filmmaking with this masterful story of longing, loneliness and love.  GOD’S OWN COUNTRY continues to rack up awards, including the Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinema Directing Award and the Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, among many others.

Daniel Powell and Elizabeth Rohrbaugh’s BECKS, starring Tony Award winner Lena Hall (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Oscar winner Christine Lahti (Best Live Action short film Lieberman in Love) and Mena Suvari, will bring NewFest to a close with the New York premiere of this award-winning romantic drama. Inspired by the life of singer and songwriter Alyssa Robbins, BECKS brings the festival themes of uncovering unity and compassion through artistic self-expression full circle and features an extraordinary lead performance from Hall. A special live acoustic performance by Lena Hall will follow the screening of the film, which won the US Fiction Award at this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival .

Full Details

OPENING NIGHT FILM & PARTY

SUSANNE BARTSCH: ON TOP

New York Premiere

Thursday, October 19

“Susanne Bartsch: On Top”

A mesmerizingly expressive portrait of a fiercely individual New York counterculture icon, “Susanne Bartsch: On Top,” candidly captures the titular “Queen of the Night” and patron saint of LGBTQ inclusion and advocacy with a commanding voice and sharp wit, much like its subject. More than just a tribute to the “Queen of the Night” and staunch LGBTQ advocate, this dynamic debut from directing duo Anthony&Alex captures the essence of Bartsch’s everyday balance between compassion and control. As Bartsch prepares for an FIT exhibit of her nightlife fashions, she faces the challenges of a changing New York City landscape (as well as the construction within her homestead of many decades, the iconic Chelsea Hotel) while reconciling how her legacy lives on today.

Her ability to bring communities together while promoting LGBT rights and self-expression reached its apex with the star-studded Love Ball in 1989, which she hosted to raise money to fight AIDS and celebrated the Harlem Vogue scene before “Paris is Burning” was released. And she continues to gather and inspire multi-generational crowds at her parties to this day. Featuring superstars and LGBTQ nightlife luminaries RuPaul, Simon Doonan, Michael Musto, and Amanda Lepore, this dazzling documentary homecoming for a living icon who has unapologetically been a champion for all things New York and queer.

The screening will be followed by a talkback with Anthony&Alex and Susanne Bartsch, and moderated by Michael Musto.

INTERNATIONAL CENTERPIECE

GOD’S OWN COUNTRY

New York Premiere

Saturday, October 21

“God’s Own Country”

Gritty yet tender, austere yet beautiful, carnal yet romantic–“God’s Own Country” is masterfully directed with powerful focus and authenticity by first-time feature filmmaker Francis Lee. Johnny Saxby (Josh O’Connor) is an overworked 25-year-old sheep farmer who feels as though life has already passed him by. He whiles away the time with drunken hookups in his small community in Northern England. When his ailing father takes a turn for the worse, handsome Romanian migrant Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu) is brought in to assist Johnny. Although Johnny resents Gheorghe at first, the two are quickly drawn to each other, and during an excursion to the highlands, they forge an even deeper connection. Winner of Sundance’s World Cinema Directing Award for its beautiful depiction of the English countryside—this assured new milestone marks a bold new epoch in textured, LGBTQ storytelling.

NEW YORK CENTERPIECE

AFTER LOUIE

New York City Premiere

Sunday, October 22

“After Louie”

Sam (Alan Cumming) is an artist and activist from ACT UP who lived through the early years of HIV/AIDS, struggling with survivor’s guilt. He’s bewildered by the younger generation of gay men, until he meets the seductive Braeden (Zachary Booth, “Keep the Lights On”) at a bar late one night. Their pants quickly come down and, eventually, so does Sam’s guard. An intergenerational relationship blossoms between them—reawakening Sam’s artistic soul and reviving his wilted heart.

Beyond the beautifully evocative performances and setting, Vincent Gagliostro’s “After Louie” is a love letter to New York City: engaging its rich backdrop while honoring the history of the gay rights movement and the progress that’s been made–reconciling the past so we as a community can look forward to the future.

CLOSING NIGHT FILM & PARTY

BECKS

New York City Premiere

Tuesday, October 24

“Becks”

Following a NYC to LA cross country move that ends in a breakup, singer-songwriter Becks (Lena Hall, a Tony Winner for Hedwig and the Angry Inch) returns to her Midwestern hometown, reluctantly moving back in with her mom. The time-warp sensation of being back in her childhood home is interrupted by an unexpected whirlwind affair with self-proclaimed “lonely housewife” Elyse (tenderly played with exceeding warmth by Mena Suvari) who finds inspired new life through the guitar lessons and generous spirit Becks provides.

This electrifyingly effusive film from co-directors Daniel Powell and Elizabeth Rohrbaugh features strong supporting turns by Dan Fogler as her old classmate-turned-drinking- buddy and Christine Lahti as Becks’ former nun mother who is still coming to terms with her daughter’s homosexuality. But it’s Lena Hall, who contributed original songs to the film and delivers a beautifully assured, live-in performance that makes “Becks” really sing.

Special live acoustic performance by Tony Award winner and Grammy Award nominee Lena Hall, the star of “Becks.”

Some notable faces and names in this year’s Opening, Closing, and Centerpiece films include: Susanne Bartsch, RuPaul, Michael Musto, Amanda Lepore, Alan Cumming, Zachary Booth, Justin Vivian Bond, Wilson Cruz, Sarita Choudhury, Lena Hall, Christine Lahti, Dan Fogler and Mena Suvari.

For information on NewFest, visit www.NewFest.org. All details and the full festival line-up will be announced on Friday, September 15.

2017 Toronto International Film Festival: Event Photos and Videos

TIFF logo

The 42nd Annual Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) takes place at various locations in Toronto from September 7 to September 17, 2017. Here are some photos and videos from the event:

“Suburbicon”

“mother!”

“Battle of the Sexes”

Fox Searchlight’s TIFF Party

“Mudbound”

“The Mountain Between Us”

 

Grey Goose Vodka events

2017 Fantastic Fest: Final wave of programming announced

September 5, 2017

Fantastic Fest 2017 LOGO

The following is a press release from Fantastic Fest:

Alamo Drafthouse’s Fantastic Fest is proud to announce its final wave of big-screen bizarro from all corners of the cinematic world with Alexander Payne’s masterpiece-in-miniature, DOWNSIZING, bestowed the honor of closing night film. Fantastic-Fest first-timers making their way to Austin include Cory Finley and his razor sharp debut THOROUGHBRED, and fan-favorite tough guy extraordinaire Frank Grillo, who will be on hand to flex some muscle for the World Premiere of his nail-biting getaway drama, WHEELMAN.

In keeping with world premieres, Fantastic Fest is proud to announce a fistful of titles that will receive their big screen bows. Screen great Barbara Crampton will be in attendance with director Bradford Baruh for a ride in his chilling APPLECART, featuring over forty minutes of zero gravity footage; Russia’s SALYUT-7 is guaranteed to pop 3D eyes; HAUNTERS: THE ART OF THE SCARE walks us through the world’s most terrifying haunted houses; and TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID delivers a contemporary fairytale from within the world of the mexican cartels.

“I’m incredibly proud of the vast array of filmmaking on display in this year’s program,” said Fantastic Fest Creative Director Evrim Ersoy. “From the most highly acclaimed studio titles to the smallest independent debuts, it’s exhilarating to embrace unique creativity from the four corners of the world. Bringing filmmakers together in a program that highlights the increasing diversity of cinema is truly an honor that we can’t wait to share with our audience.”

Female filmmakers once again deliver powerful voices with three of the most dynamic films of the festival. Angel Robinson will be in attendance to share the controversially kinky true story behind the year’s biggest superhero with PROFESSOR MARSTON & THE WONDER WOMEN; Lisa Bruhlmann makes a stunning entrance with her fantastical coming-of-age debut BLUE MY MIND; and not to be outdone, first time feature-maker Coralie Fargeat turns the revenge genre upside down with her outrageous femme fatale fiesta, REVENGE.

A mainstay of Fantastic Fest has been showcasing world cinema’s finest exports and this year is no exception. Asia basks in the glory of master Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s return to the apocalyptic fold with BEFORE WE VANISH (Japan), while his countryman Sôichi Umezawa delivers the outlandish midnight spectacle of VAMPIRE CLAY (Japan). South Korea represents with the year’s toughest crime caper, THE MERCILESS, and serial killer shocker V.I.P., while NYAFF award-winner BAD GENIUS represents Thailand. And Taiwan shows school students no mercy with the hyper-violent MON MON MON MONSTERS. Not to be outdone, Europe comes out swinging with Hungarian auteur Kornél Mundruczó’s follow up to WHITE GOD, the stunning JUPITER’S MOON, French filmmakers Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani splash their hyper-stylized western LET THE CORPSES TAN across the screen and Norway’s Joachim Trier delivers one of the most quietly impressive films of the year, the assured THELMA.

The world premiere of Don Hertzfeldt’s WORLD OF TOMORROW EPISODE 2: THE BURDEN OF OTHER PEOPLE’S THOUGHTS highlights an animated sidebar that pushes the medium into brave new spaces. Rounding out the fantastical trio is the debut feature from Studio Ponoc, MARY AND THE WITCHES FLOWER, from ex Studio Ghibli key animator Hiromasa Yonebayashi, and JUNK HEAD, Takahide Hori’s claymation feature that took him over seven years to complete, entirely by himself.

American Genre Film Archive makes its triumphant return to Fantastic Fest with two movies that will rot your libido in the best way. BAT PUSSY, the world’s first X-rated parody, shares the spotlight the world premiere of a brand new 2K transfer of one of the most sought-after lost films in the history of exploitation cinema in a very special secret screening. Additional rep titles include the world premiere of the Takashi Miike-approved 4K restoration of ICHI THE KILLER, the digital remaster of the seminal Indian cult movie BAASHA, and Jean Rollin’s THE NUDE VAMPIRE, presented by Kier-la Janisse in celebration of her new book Lost Girls: The Phantasmagorical Cinema of Jean Rollin.

True to form, Fantastic Fest will be re-writing reality once more with a crowded cornucopia of events that invade all corners of the fest. Gross-out grub-gorging spectacle Puke and Explode rumbles once more, notorious VHS archival warriors Everything is Terrible return with an all-new show to both delight and horrify. Rotten Tomatoes joins the fray with Your Opinion Sucks, the ultimate live discussion about the best and worst in movies and TV shows. Comedy legend Gilbert Gottfried will be performing and screening the incredible biographical doc GILBERT, and the seminal Fantastic Debates marks its 10-year anniversary of polemic pugilism in spectacular fashion.

FINAL WAVE OF FILM LINEUP BELOW:

AGFA + SOMETHING WEIRD PRESENT: BAT PUSSY and SECRET SCREENING
American Genre Film Archive makes its triumphant return to Fantastic Fest with two movies that will rot your libido in the best way. BAT PUSSY, the world’s first X-rated parody, is what happens when an anonymous smut producer gets inspired by the 1960s BATMAN TV show but only has $5. It’s also what happens when your wildest dreams and most horrifying nightmares collide in an explosion of flaccid stupefaction. Next up, after years of detective work, AGFA presents the world premiere of a brand new 2K transfer of one of the most sought-after lost films in the history of exploitation cinema.

LOST GIRLS Book Launch: THE NUDE VAMPIRE presented by Kier-la Janisse
THE NUDE VAMPIRE
France, 1970
Repertory, 88 min
Director – Jean Rollin
Jean Rollin’s THE NUDE VAMPIRE (1970) follows a sinister businessman who’s keeping a young vampire girl captive and experimenting on her in the hope that he finds the key to eternal life. The film will be screened in celebration of the launch of the new book from publisher Spectacular Optical, LOST GIRLS: THE PHANTASMAGORICAL CINEMA OF JEAN ROLLIN, the first examination of Rollin’s work to be written by all women critics, scholars and film historians, and will be introduced by the book’s publisher Kier-La Janisse.

3FT BALL & SOULS
Japan, 2017
International Premiere, 93 min
Director – Yoshio Kato
Four strangers come together to commit suicide using explosives. But they discover that every time they blow up, they’re sent back to just before they killed themselves.

APPLECART
USA, 2017
World Premiere, 86 min
Director – Bradford Baruh
An idyllic weekend vacation to a secluded cabin turns deadly when the Pollack family discovers an unconscious woman whose sinister plans will pit the family members against each other.

BAASHA
India, 1995
Repertory/International Premiere, 165 min
Director – Suresh Krissna
Superstar Rajinikanth plays a rickshaw driver with a history of violence in this genre-defining musical gangster romance epic from the director of AALAVANDHAN.

BAD GENIUS
Thailand, 2017
Texas Premiere, 130 min
Director – Nattawut Poonpiriya
A quartet of high school students are better at cheating than anything you’ve ever done in your life in this epic nail-biter about the standardized tests that level the playing field for all kids, smart and dumb, rich and poor.

BEFORE WE VANISH
Japan, 2017
North American Premiere, 129 min
Director – Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Kurosawa’s latest film is a sci-fi thriller about an invasion in which aliens must come to understand humanity through understanding human emotion – most importantly, our collective capacity for love.

BLUE MY MIND
Switzerland, 2017
North American Premiere, 97 min
Director – Lisa Brühlmann
BLUE MY MIND follows 15-year-old Mia (Luna Wedler) as she undergoes a life-changing transformation, one that leaves her examining her body and her very existence in a new light.

BRIMSTONE & GLORY
Mexico, USA, 2017
Regional Premiere, 67 min
Director – Viktor Jakovleski
Tultepec is a small Mexican town that celebrates its love of fireworks with a yearly week-long festival. This festival is captured in a glorious documentary that is pure cinema.

THE CURED
Ireland, UK, France, 2017
US Premiere, 95 min
Director – David Freyne
A zombie virus has hit the world… but it has been cured. What’s next for the ex-zombies who have returned to normal? David Freyne’s debut feature throws lots of food for thought into the mouth of your mind.

DARKLAND
Denmark, 2017
US Premiere, 113 min
Director – Fenar Ahmad
An Iraqi doctor in Denmark seeks vigilante justice for his brother’s murder when the police come up short, biting off more than he can chew in a world of gangs, drugs and underground fight rings.

DOWNSIZING
USA, 2017
Regional Premiere, 135 min
Director – Alexander Payne
Everyman Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives in Omaha and move to a new downsized community in Alexander Payne’s brilliant social satire.

FIRSTBORN
Latvia, 2017
North American Premiere, 90 min
Director – Aik Karapetian
Provocative Latvian director Aik Karapetian returns to Fantastic Fest with a new thriller that explores how far a meek architect will go to protect his dignity in the eyes of his wife in the aftermath of an attack.

FIVE FINGERS FOR MARSEILLES
South Africa, 2017
US Premiere, 120 min
Director – Michael Matthews
A troubled young man returns to the town he fled as a youth and is forced to confront his past (and the town’s difficult future) in this gorgeous Sesotho language western.

GEMINI
USA, 2017
Special Screening, 93 min
Director – Aaron Katz
Our understandings of friendship, truth and celebrity are challenged when a heinous crime tests the complex relationship between a tenacious personal assistant (Lola Kirke) and her Hollywood starlet boss (Zoe Kravitz) in Aaron Katz’s latest.

GILBERT
USA, 2017
Regional Premiere, 99 min
Director – Neil Berkeley
GILBERT is the story of Gilbert Gottfried as never seen before, both a behind-the-scenes documentary and a poignant look at the life of a comedian who has more layers than most people can imagine.

GOOD MANNERS
Brazil, France, 2017
North American Premiere, 135 min
Directors – Juliana Rojas & Marco Dutra
When lonely nurse Clara is hired as a nanny by wealthy Ana, she hardly expects anything like the friendship she finds with the lonely, pregnant woman. However, both women have dark secrets which will engulf all that they hold dear.

HAUNTERS: THE ART OF THE SCARE
USA, 2017
World Premiere, 88 min
Director – Jon Schnitzer
Delving behind the scenes of one of America’s most beloved seasonal pastimes, HAUNTERS shows the world of the people who make the scariest houses, mazes and experiences  that range from the traditional to the controversial.

ICHI THE KILLER – 4K RESTORATION
Japan, 2001
Repertory/World Premiere of Restoration, 129 min
Director – Takashi Miike
The yakuza occupy a murky universe with more twists and turns than the Shinjuku alleys they call home. The mysterious disappearance of a Tokyo mob boss triggers a hunt to find him, dead or alive. The search leads to the city’s most depraved clubs and sex dens and eventually to Ichi, the schizophrenic hitman behind the crime. Even more shocking is the discovery that the mastermind who hired Ichi is a fellow gangster out for revenge.

JUNK HEAD
Japan, 2017
US Premiere, 114 min
Director – Takahide Hori
Humanity is dying. It’s been 1200 years since our rebellious clone workforce moved underground, and the only way we can survive is by plunging into the depths to learn more about our terrifying creations.

JUPITER’S MOON
Hungary, Germany, 2017
North American Premiere, 123 min
Director – Kornél Mundruczó
The most ambitious science fiction film of the year is also perhaps the most visually stunning. Aryan is a refugee who finds himself with the power to levitate after being shot. Stern is a disgraced, corrupt doctor. The two will meet and alter the entire world.

LES AFFAMES
Canada, 2017
US Premiere, 100 min
Director – Robin Aubert
In the remote Quebec countryside, things are not well. A plague has infected the land, affecting almost all the residents of a small village. The survivors have to navigate their new existence as well as deal with the infected with an appetite for flesh.

LET THE CORPSES TAN
Belgium, France, 2017
US Premiere, 92 min
Directors – Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani
On a beautiful corner of the Mediterranean, Rhino and his men take refuge after the robbery of 250 kilograms of gold. The plan is simple: Wait and split. But some unwanted visitors are about to turn this idyllic corner into a bloodbath.

LETTERKENNY
Canada, 2016
US Premiere, 151 min
Director – Jacob Tierney
The spiritual successors to STRANGE BREW’s Bob and Doug MacKenzie, the rural residents of the fictitious town of LETTERKENNY deliver a hysterical slice of Canadiana in the comedy phenomenon chronicling the daily problems of hicks, skids, hockey players and Christians.

THE LINE
Slovakia, Ukraine, 2017
North American Premiere, 112 min
Director – Peter Bebjak
One line is literal, the border between Slovakia and Ukraine. Criminal Adam Krajnak (Tomas Mastalir) crosses it often, smuggling product and people. The other line is metaphorical, and crossing it leads to a death spiral of violence and vengeance.

LOVE AND SAUCERS
USA/Canada, 2017
Texas Premiere, 67 min
Director – Brad Abrahams
David Huggins, a 72-year-old man who claims to have lost his virginity as a young man to an extraterrestrial being, turned to art to express his interspecies romance and lifelong relationship with the otherworldly.

MARY AND THE WITCH’S FLOWER
Japan, 2017
North American Premiere, 102 min
Director – Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Directing the first film out of Studio Ponoc, Hiromasa Yonebayashi (WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE) creates the dazzling and heartwarming story of an ordinary girl who becomes an extraordinary witch.

THE MERCILESS
South Korea, 2017
North American Premiere, 117 min
Director – Byun Sung-hyun
Cribbing liberally from the history of gangster films, Byun Sung-hyun’s hard-boiled Korean crime saga is filled with all manner of murder, deceit, double and triple crosses… and, oh yeah, slap-fighting.

MOM AND DAD
USA, 2017
US Premiere, 83 min
Director – Brian Taylor
Selma Blair and Nicolas Cage are seemingly ideal parents until an unknown force causes their town’s adults to murder their offspring.

MON MON MON MONSTERS
Taiwan, 2017
Regional Premiere, 112 min
Director – Giddens Ko
A bullied schoolboy is teamed up with his tormentors to do community social work. While on duty, they encounter a strange creature which they kidnap, and take bullying to a whole new level.

THE PRINCE OF NOTHINGWOOD
France, Germany, 2017
US Premiere, 85 min
Director – Sonia Kronlund
Meet Salim Shaheen: Afghani auteur, prolific actor and one-man moviemaking industry. Along with his trusted troupe of actors, he defies all the odds in the Middle East to fulfill his dreams of making movies.

PROFESSOR MARSTON & THE WONDER WOMEN
USA, 2017
US Premiere,108 min
Director – Angela Robinson
In a superhero origin tale unlike any other, this film is the incredible true story of what inspired Harvard psychologist Dr. William Moulton Marston to create the iconic Wonder Woman character in the 1940s.

RABBIT
Australia, 2017
International Premiere, 99 min
Director – Luke Shanahan
After a full year, Maude is still stricken by visions of her sister Cleo’s kidnapping. Believing that Cleo is still alive, Maude undergoes a suspenseful journey to find her in this stunning, atmospheric feature debut from Luke Shanahan.

RADIUS
Canada, 2017
US Premiere, 91 min
Directors – Caroline Labrèche & Steeve Léonard
When a man wakes up from a car crash with no memory of what happened, his first instinct is to find help. However, as he gets closer to civilization and other people, an ugly truth will rear its head and affect all those who surround him.

REVENGE
France, 2017
US Premiere, 108 min
Director – Coralie Fargeat
Three rich male thrill-seekers discover that Jennifer isn’t the human sex doll that they assumed she was when they invited her on their isolated hunting getaway. Jennifer teaches them fundamental lessons about consent in a manner that they – and we – won’t soon forget.

RIFT
Iceland, 2017
Texas Premiere, 111 min
Director – Erlingur Thoroddsen
After a phone call from his ex wakes him late one night, Gunnar drives out to a secluded vacation cottage to save Einar from himself, but what awaits him there is mystery and confusion.

SALYUT-7
Russia, 2017
World Premiere, 119 min
Director – Klim Shipenko
Based on a true story, SALYUT-7 is the little-known mission to dock with an unmanned space station in order to stop it from crashing into Earth, a feat never before attempted in space history.

THELMA
Norway, 2017
Texas Premiere, 116 min
Director – Joachim Trier
A conservative young woman attending college in Oslo begins to fall in love while discovering her burgeoning supernatural powers in a stunning new film from Norway.

THOROUGHBRED
USA, 2017
Austin Premiere, 92 min
Director – Cory Finley
Two teenage girls in suburban Connecticut rekindle their unlikely friendship after years of growing apart. In the process, they learn that neither is what she seems to be, and that a murder might solve both of their problems.

TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID
Mexico, 2017
World Premiere, 83 min
Director – Issa López
When her mother suddenly disappears with no one to care for her, young Estrella ends up on the street and joins a gang of children, triggering a dangerous and tragic chain of events in the third feature from Mexican filmmaker Lopez.

UNDER THE TREE
Iceland, Denmark, Poland, Germany, 2017
US Premiere, 89 min
Director – Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson
On the outskirts of Reykjavik, the shadow cast by a tree triggers a feud between two neighboring families, with tragic and darkly comic consequences.

V.I.P.
South Korea, 2017
International Premiere, 128 min
Director – Hoon-jung Park
A notorious serial killer who happens to be the son of a defecting DPRK official sends South Korea’s National Intelligence, police from both states and even international brass into a mad political scramble in this thrilling neo-noir.

VAMPIRE CLAY
Japan, 2017
US Premiere, 80 min
Director – Soichi Umezawa
A class of art school hopefuls is stalked by blood-thirsty, flesh-hungry clay in this bizarre practical effects-heavy horror assault from THE ABCs OF DEATH 2 segment director and longtime special makeup effects artist Umezawa.

VIDAR THE VAMPIRE
Norway, 2017
Texas Premiere, 82 min
Directors – Thomas Aske Berg & Fredrik Waldeland
Christian farmer Vidar has a boring life, living with his mom and tending sheep. When he wishes for more excitement he wakes up undead, hangs out with vampire Jesus and discovers that sometimes the party can go on too long.

WHEELMAN
USA, 2017
World Premiere, 82 min
Director – Jeremy Rush
Frank Grillo (KINGDOM; CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR) stars as the wheelman, a getaway driver thrust into a high stakes race to survive after a bank robbery goes terribly wrong. With a car full of money and his family on the line, the clock is ticking to figure out who double-crossed him and the only person he can trust… his 14-year-old daughter. All reasons to think fast and drive faster.

WORLD OF TOMORROW EPISODE TWO: THE BURDEN OF OTHER PEOPLE’S THOUGHTS
USA, 2017
World Premiere, 23 min
Director – Don Hertzfeldt
The highly anticipated follow-up to Don Hertzfeldt’s Oscar-nominated WORLD OF TOMORROW finds Emily Prime swept into the brain of an incomplete backup clone of her future self, who’s on a mission to reboot her broken mind. Continuing the tradition of the first film, WORLD OF TOMORROW EPISODE TWO was written entirely around candid audio recordings of Hertzfeldt’s five-year-old niece.

***

Alamo Drafthouse’s Fantastic Fest is proud to announce its final wave of big-screen bizarro from all corners of the cinematic world with Alexander Payne’s masterpiece-in-miniature, DOWNSIZING, bestowed the honor of closing night film. Fantastic-Fest first-timers making their way to Austin include Cory Finley and his razor sharp debut THOROUGHBRED, and fan-favorite tough guy extraordinaire Frank Grillo, who will be on hand to flex some muscle for the World Premiere of his nail-biting getaway drama, WHEELMAN.

In keeping with world premieres, Fantastic Fest is proud to announce a fistful of titles that will receive their big screen bows. Screen great Barbara Crampton will be in attendance with director Bradford Baruh for a ride in his chilling APPLECART, featuring over forty minutes of zero gravity footage; Russia’s SALYUT-7 is guaranteed to pop 3D eyes; HAUNTERS: THE ART OF THE SCARE walks us through the world’s most terrifying haunted houses; and TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID delivers a contemporary fairytale from within the world of the mexican cartels.

“I’m incredibly proud of the vast array of filmmaking on display in this year’s program,” said Fantastic Fest Creative Director Evrim Ersoy. “From the most highly acclaimed studio titles to the smallest independent debuts, it’s exhilarating to embrace unique creativity from the four corners of the world. Bringing filmmakers together in a program that highlights the increasing diversity of cinema is truly an honor that we can’t wait to share with our audience.”

Female filmmakers once again deliver powerful voices with three of the most dynamic films of the festival. Angel Robinson will be in attendance to share the controversially kinky true story behind the year’s biggest superhero with PROFESSOR MARSTON & THE WONDER WOMEN; Lisa Bruhlmann makes a stunning entrance with her fantastical coming-of-age debut BLUE MY MIND; and not to be outdone, first time feature-maker Coralie Fargeat turns the revenge genre upside down with her outrageous femme fatale fiesta, REVENGE.

A mainstay of Fantastic Fest has been showcasing world cinema’s finest exports and this year is no exception. Asia basks in the glory of master Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s return to the apocalyptic fold with BEFORE WE VANISH (Japan), while his countryman Sôichi Umezawa delivers the outlandish midnight spectacle of VAMPIRE CLAY (Japan). South Korea represents with the year’s toughest crime caper, THE MERCILESS, and serial killer shocker V.I.P., while NYAFF award-winner BAD GENIUS represents Thailand. And Taiwan shows school students no mercy with the hyper-violent MON MON MON MONSTERS. Not to be outdone, Europe comes out swinging with Hungarian auteur Kornél Mundruczó’s follow up to WHITE GOD, the stunning JUPITER’S MOON, French filmmakers Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani splash their hyper-stylized western LET THE CORPSES TAN across the screen and Norway’s Joachim Trier delivers one of the most quietly impressive films of the year, the assured THELMA.

The world premiere of Don Hertzfeldt’s WORLD OF TOMORROW EPISODE 2: THE BURDEN OF OTHER PEOPLE’S THOUGHTS highlights an animated sidebar that pushes the medium into brave new spaces. Rounding out the fantastical trio is the debut feature from Studio Ponoc, MARY AND THE WITCHES FLOWER, from ex Studio Ghibli key animator Hiromasa Yonebayashi, and JUNK HEAD, Takahide Hori’s claymation feature that took him over seven years to complete, entirely by himself.

American Genre Film Archive makes its triumphant return to Fantastic Fest with two movies that will rot your libido in the best way. BAT PUSSY, the world’s first X-rated parody, shares the spotlight the world premiere of a brand new 2K transfer of one of the most sought-after lost films in the history of exploitation cinema in a very special secret screening. Additional rep titles include the world premiere of the Takashi Miike-approved 4K restoration of ICHI THE KILLER, the digital remaster of the seminal Indian cult movie BAASHA, and Jean Rollin’s THE NUDE VAMPIRE, presented by Kier-la Janisse in celebration of her new book Lost Girls: The Phantasmagorical Cinema of Jean Rollin.

True to form, Fantastic Fest will be re-writing reality once more with a crowded cornucopia of events that invade all corners of the fest. Gross-out grub-gorging spectacle Puke and Explode rumbles once more, notorious VHS archival warriors Everything is Terrible return with an all-new show to both delight and horrify. Rotten Tomatoes joins the fray with Your Opinion Sucks, the ultimate live discussion about the best and worst in movies and TV shows. Comedy legend Gilbert Gottfried will be performing and screening the incredible biographical doc GILBERT, and the seminal Fantastic Debates marks its 10-year anniversary of polemic pugilism in spectacular fashion.

FINAL WAVE OF FILM LINEUP BELOW:

AGFA + SOMETHING WEIRD PRESENT: BAT PUSSY and SECRET SCREENING
American Genre Film Archive makes its triumphant return to Fantastic Fest with two movies that will rot your libido in the best way. BAT PUSSY, the world’s first X-rated parody, is what happens when an anonymous smut producer gets inspired by the 1960s BATMAN TV show but only has $5. It’s also what happens when your wildest dreams and most horrifying nightmares collide in an explosion of flaccid stupefaction. Next up, after years of detective work, AGFA presents the world premiere of a brand new 2K transfer of one of the most sought-after lost films in the history of exploitation cinema.

LOST GIRLS Book Launch: THE NUDE VAMPIRE presented by Kier-la Janisse
THE NUDE VAMPIRE
France, 1970
Repertory, 88 min
Director – Jean Rollin
Jean Rollin’s THE NUDE VAMPIRE (1970) follows a sinister businessman who’s keeping a young vampire girl captive and experimenting on her in the hope that he finds the key to eternal life. The film will be screened in celebration of the launch of the new book from publisher Spectacular Optical, LOST GIRLS: THE PHANTASMAGORICAL CINEMA OF JEAN ROLLIN, the first examination of Rollin’s work to be written by all women critics, scholars and film historians, and will be introduced by the book’s publisher Kier-La Janisse.

3FT BALL & SOULS
Japan, 2017
International Premiere, 93 min
Director – Yoshio Kato
Four strangers come together to commit suicide using explosives. But they discover that every time they blow up, they’re sent back to just before they killed themselves.

APPLECART
USA, 2017
World Premiere, 86 min
Director – Bradford Baruh
An idyllic weekend vacation to a secluded cabin turns deadly when the Pollack family discovers an unconscious woman whose sinister plans will pit the family members against each other.

BAASHA
India, 1995
Repertory/International Premiere, 165 min
Director – Suresh Krissna
Superstar Rajinikanth plays a rickshaw driver with a history of violence in this genre-defining musical gangster romance epic from the director of AALAVANDHAN.

BAD GENIUS
Thailand, 2017
Texas Premiere, 130 min
Director – Nattawut Poonpiriya
A quartet of high school students are better at cheating than anything you’ve ever done in your life in this epic nail-biter about the standardized tests that level the playing field for all kids, smart and dumb, rich and poor.

BEFORE WE VANISH
Japan, 2017
North American Premiere, 129 min
Director – Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Kurosawa’s latest film is a sci-fi thriller about an invasion in which aliens must come to understand humanity through understanding human emotion – most importantly, our collective capacity for love.

BLUE MY MIND
Switzerland, 2017
North American Premiere, 97 min
Director – Lisa Brühlmann
BLUE MY MIND follows 15-year-old Mia (Luna Wedler) as she undergoes a life-changing transformation, one that leaves her examining her body and her very existence in a new light.

BRIMSTONE & GLORY
Mexico, USA, 2017
Regional Premiere, 67 min
Director – Viktor Jakovleski
Tultepec is a small Mexican town that celebrates its love of fireworks with a yearly week-long festival. This festival is captured in a glorious documentary that is pure cinema.

THE CURED
Ireland, UK, France, 2017
US Premiere, 95 min
Director – David Freyne
A zombie virus has hit the world… but it has been cured. What’s next for the ex-zombies who have returned to normal? David Freyne’s debut feature throws lots of food for thought into the mouth of your mind.

DARKLAND
Denmark, 2017
US Premiere, 113 min
Director – Fenar Ahmad
An Iraqi doctor in Denmark seeks vigilante justice for his brother’s murder when the police come up short, biting off more than he can chew in a world of gangs, drugs and underground fight rings.

DOWNSIZING
USA, 2017
Regional Premiere, 135 min
Director – Alexander Payne
Everyman Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives in Omaha and move to a new downsized community in Alexander Payne’s brilliant social satire.

FIRSTBORN
Latvia, 2017
North American Premiere, 90 min
Director – Aik Karapetian
Provocative Latvian director Aik Karapetian returns to Fantastic Fest with a new thriller that explores how far a meek architect will go to protect his dignity in the eyes of his wife in the aftermath of an attack.

FIVE FINGERS FOR MARSEILLES
South Africa, 2017
US Premiere, 120 min
Director – Michael Matthews
A troubled young man returns to the town he fled as a youth and is forced to confront his past (and the town’s difficult future) in this gorgeous Sesotho language western.

GEMINI
USA, 2017
Special Screening, 93 min
Director – Aaron Katz
Our understandings of friendship, truth and celebrity are challenged when a heinous crime tests the complex relationship between a tenacious personal assistant (Lola Kirke) and her Hollywood starlet boss (Zoe Kravitz) in Aaron Katz’s latest.

GILBERT
USA, 2017
Regional Premiere, 99 min
Director – Neil Berkeley
GILBERT is the story of Gilbert Gottfried as never seen before, both a behind-the-scenes documentary and a poignant look at the life of a comedian who has more layers than most people can imagine.

GOOD MANNERS
Brazil, France, 2017
North American Premiere, 135 min
Directors – Juliana Rojas & Marco Dutra
When lonely nurse Clara is hired as a nanny by wealthy Ana, she hardly expects anything like the friendship she finds with the lonely, pregnant woman. However, both women have dark secrets which will engulf all that they hold dear.

HAUNTERS: THE ART OF THE SCARE
USA, 2017
World Premiere, 88 min
Director – Jon Schnitzer
Delving behind the scenes of one of America’s most beloved seasonal pastimes, HAUNTERS shows the world of the people who make the scariest houses, mazes and experiences  that range from the traditional to the controversial.

ICHI THE KILLER – 4K RESTORATION
Japan, 2001
Repertory/World Premiere of Restoration, 129 min
Director – Takashi Miike
The yakuza occupy a murky universe with more twists and turns than the Shinjuku alleys they call home. The mysterious disappearance of a Tokyo mob boss triggers a hunt to find him, dead or alive. The search leads to the city’s most depraved clubs and sex dens and eventually to Ichi, the schizophrenic hitman behind the crime. Even more shocking is the discovery that the mastermind who hired Ichi is a fellow gangster out for revenge.

JUNK HEAD
Japan, 2017
US Premiere, 114 min
Director – Takahide Hori
Humanity is dying. It’s been 1200 years since our rebellious clone workforce moved underground, and the only way we can survive is by plunging into the depths to learn more about our terrifying creations.

JUPITER’S MOON
Hungary, Germany, 2017
North American Premiere, 123 min
Director – Kornél Mundruczó
The most ambitious science fiction film of the year is also perhaps the most visually stunning. Aryan is a refugee who finds himself with the power to levitate after being shot. Stern is a disgraced, corrupt doctor. The two will meet and alter the entire world.

LES AFFAMES
Canada, 2017
US Premiere, 100 min
Director – Robin Aubert
In the remote Quebec countryside, things are not well. A plague has infected the land, affecting almost all the residents of a small village. The survivors have to navigate their new existence as well as deal with the infected with an appetite for flesh.

LET THE CORPSES TAN
Belgium, France, 2017
US Premiere, 92 min
Directors – Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani
On a beautiful corner of the Mediterranean, Rhino and his men take refuge after the robbery of 250 kilograms of gold. The plan is simple: Wait and split. But some unwanted visitors are about to turn this idyllic corner into a bloodbath.

LETTERKENNY
Canada, 2016
US Premiere, 151 min
Director – Jacob Tierney
The spiritual successors to STRANGE BREW’s Bob and Doug MacKenzie, the rural residents of the fictitious town of LETTERKENNY deliver a hysterical slice of Canadiana in the comedy phenomenon chronicling the daily problems of hicks, skids, hockey players and Christians.

THE LINE
Slovakia, Ukraine, 2017
North American Premiere, 112 min
Director – Peter Bebjak
One line is literal, the border between Slovakia and Ukraine. Criminal Adam Krajnak (Tomas Mastalir) crosses it often, smuggling product and people. The other line is metaphorical, and crossing it leads to a death spiral of violence and vengeance.

LOVE AND SAUCERS
USA/Canada, 2017
Texas Premiere, 67 min
Director – Brad Abrahams
David Huggins, a 72-year-old man who claims to have lost his virginity as a young man to an extraterrestrial being, turned to art to express his interspecies romance and lifelong relationship with the otherworldly.

MARY AND THE WITCH’S FLOWER
Japan, 2017
North American Premiere, 102 min
Director – Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Directing the first film out of Studio Ponoc, Hiromasa Yonebayashi (WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE) creates the dazzling and heartwarming story of an ordinary girl who becomes an extraordinary witch.

THE MERCILESS
South Korea, 2017
North American Premiere, 117 min
Director – Byun Sung-hyun
Cribbing liberally from the history of gangster films, Byun Sung-hyun’s hard-boiled Korean crime saga is filled with all manner of murder, deceit, double and triple crosses… and, oh yeah, slap-fighting.

MOM AND DAD
USA, 2017
US Premiere, 83 min
Director – Brian Taylor
Selma Blair and Nicolas Cage are seemingly ideal parents until an unknown force causes their town’s adults to murder their offspring.

MON MON MON MONSTERS
Taiwan, 2017
Regional Premiere, 112 min
Director – Giddens Ko
A bullied schoolboy is teamed up with his tormentors to do community social work. While on duty, they encounter a strange creature which they kidnap, and take bullying to a whole new level.

THE PRINCE OF NOTHINGWOOD
France, Germany, 2017
US Premiere, 85 min
Director – Sonia Kronlund
Meet Salim Shaheen: Afghani auteur, prolific actor and one-man moviemaking industry. Along with his trusted troupe of actors, he defies all the odds in the Middle East to fulfill his dreams of making movies.

PROFESSOR MARSTON & THE WONDER WOMEN
USA, 2017
US Premiere,108 min
Director – Angela Robinson
In a superhero origin tale unlike any other, this film is the incredible true story of what inspired Harvard psychologist Dr. William Moulton Marston to create the iconic Wonder Woman character in the 1940s.

RABBIT
Australia, 2017
International Premiere, 99 min
Director – Luke Shanahan
After a full year, Maude is still stricken by visions of her sister Cleo’s kidnapping. Believing that Cleo is still alive, Maude undergoes a suspenseful journey to find her in this stunning, atmospheric feature debut from Luke Shanahan.

RADIUS
Canada, 2017
US Premiere, 91 min
Directors – Caroline Labrèche & Steeve Léonard
When a man wakes up from a car crash with no memory of what happened, his first instinct is to find help. However, as he gets closer to civilization and other people, an ugly truth will rear its head and affect all those who surround him.

REVENGE
France, 2017
US Premiere, 108 min
Director – Coralie Fargeat
Three rich male thrill-seekers discover that Jennifer isn’t the human sex doll that they assumed she was when they invited her on their isolated hunting getaway. Jennifer teaches them fundamental lessons about consent in a manner that they – and we – won’t soon forget.

RIFT
Iceland, 2017
Texas Premiere, 111 min
Director – Erlingur Thoroddsen
After a phone call from his ex wakes him late one night, Gunnar drives out to a secluded vacation cottage to save Einar from himself, but what awaits him there is mystery and confusion.

SALYUT-7
Russia, 2017
World Premiere, 119 min
Director – Klim Shipenko
Based on a true story, SALYUT-7 is the little-known mission to dock with an unmanned space station in order to stop it from crashing into Earth, a feat never before attempted in space history.

THELMA
Norway, 2017
Texas Premiere, 116 min
Director – Joachim Trier
A conservative young woman attending college in Oslo begins to fall in love while discovering her burgeoning supernatural powers in a stunning new film from Norway.

THOROUGHBRED
USA, 2017
Austin Premiere, 92 min
Director – Cory Finley
Two teenage girls in suburban Connecticut rekindle their unlikely friendship after years of growing apart. In the process, they learn that neither is what she seems to be, and that a murder might solve both of their problems.

TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID
Mexico, 2017
World Premiere, 83 min
Director – Issa López
When her mother suddenly disappears with no one to care for her, young Estrella ends up on the street and joins a gang of children, triggering a dangerous and tragic chain of events in the third feature from Mexican filmmaker Lopez.

UNDER THE TREE
Iceland, Denmark, Poland, Germany, 2017
US Premiere, 89 min
Director – Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson
On the outskirts of Reykjavik, the shadow cast by a tree triggers a feud between two neighboring families, with tragic and darkly comic consequences.

V.I.P.
South Korea, 2017
International Premiere, 128 min
Director – Hoon-jung Park
A notorious serial killer who happens to be the son of a defecting DPRK official sends South Korea’s National Intelligence, police from both states and even international brass into a mad political scramble in this thrilling neo-noir.

VAMPIRE CLAY
Japan, 2017
US Premiere, 80 min
Director – Soichi Umezawa
A class of art school hopefuls is stalked by blood-thirsty, flesh-hungry clay in this bizarre practical effects-heavy horror assault from THE ABCs OF DEATH 2 segment director and longtime special makeup effects artist Umezawa.

VIDAR THE VAMPIRE
Norway, 2017
Texas Premiere, 82 min
Directors – Thomas Aske Berg & Fredrik Waldeland
Christian farmer Vidar has a boring life, living with his mom and tending sheep. When he wishes for more excitement he wakes up undead, hangs out with vampire Jesus and discovers that sometimes the party can go on too long.

WHEELMAN
USA, 2017
World Premiere, 82 min
Director – Jeremy Rush
Frank Grillo (KINGDOM; CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR) stars as the wheelman, a getaway driver thrust into a high stakes race to survive after a bank robbery goes terribly wrong. With a car full of money and his family on the line, the clock is ticking to figure out who double-crossed him and the only person he can trust… his 14-year-old daughter. All reasons to think fast and drive faster.

WORLD OF TOMORROW EPISODE TWO: THE BURDEN OF OTHER PEOPLE’S THOUGHTS
USA, 2017
World Premiere, 23 min
Director – Don Hertzfeldt
The highly anticipated follow-up to Don Hertzfeldt’s Oscar-nominated WORLD OF TOMORROW finds Emily Prime swept into the brain of an incomplete backup clone of her future self, who’s on a mission to reboot her broken mind. Continuing the tradition of the first film, WORLD OF TOMORROW EPISODE TWO was written entirely around candid audio recordings of Hertzfeldt’s five-year-old niece.

***
Alamo Drafthouse’s Fantastic Fest is proud to announce its final wave of big-screen bizarro from all corners of the cinematic world with Alexander Payne’s masterpiece-in-miniature, DOWNSIZING, bestowed the honor of closing night film. Fantastic-Fest first-timers making their way to Austin include Cory Finley and his razor sharp debut THOROUGHBRED, and fan-favorite tough guy extraordinaire Frank Grillo, who will be on hand to flex some muscle for the World Premiere of his nail-biting getaway drama, WHEELMAN.

In keeping with world premieres, Fantastic Fest is proud to announce a fistful of titles that will receive their big screen bows. Screen great Barbara Crampton will be in attendance with director Bradford Baruh for a ride in his chilling APPLECART, featuring over forty minutes of zero gravity footage; Russia’s SALYUT-7 is guaranteed to pop 3D eyes; HAUNTERS: THE ART OF THE SCARE walks us through the world’s most terrifying haunted houses; and TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID delivers a contemporary fairytale from within the world of the mexican cartels.

“I’m incredibly proud of the vast array of filmmaking on display in this year’s program,” said Fantastic Fest Creative Director Evrim Ersoy. “From the most highly acclaimed studio titles to the smallest independent debuts, it’s exhilarating to embrace unique creativity from the four corners of the world. Bringing filmmakers together in a program that highlights the increasing diversity of cinema is truly an honor that we can’t wait to share with our audience.”

Female filmmakers once again deliver powerful voices with three of the most dynamic films of the festival. Angel Robinson will be in attendance to share the controversially kinky true story behind the year’s biggest superhero with PROFESSOR MARSTON & THE WONDER WOMEN; Lisa Bruhlmann makes a stunning entrance with her fantastical coming-of-age debut BLUE MY MIND; and not to be outdone, first time feature-maker Coralie Fargeat turns the revenge genre upside down with her outrageous femme fatale fiesta, REVENGE.

A mainstay of Fantastic Fest has been showcasing world cinema’s finest exports and this year is no exception. Asia basks in the glory of master Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s return to the apocalyptic fold with BEFORE WE VANISH (Japan), while his countryman Sôichi Umezawa delivers the outlandish midnight spectacle of VAMPIRE CLAY (Japan). South Korea represents with the year’s toughest crime caper, THE MERCILESS, and serial killer shocker V.I.P., while NYAFF award-winner BAD GENIUS represents Thailand. And Taiwan shows school students no mercy with the hyper-violent MON MON MON MONSTERS. Not to be outdone, Europe comes out swinging with Hungarian auteur Kornél Mundruczó’s follow up to WHITE GOD, the stunning JUPITER’S MOON, French filmmakers Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani splash their hyper-stylized western LET THE CORPSES TAN across the screen and Norway’s Joachim Trier delivers one of the most quietly impressive films of the year, the assured THELMA.

The world premiere of Don Hertzfeldt’s WORLD OF TOMORROW EPISODE 2: THE BURDEN OF OTHER PEOPLE’S THOUGHTS highlights an animated sidebar that pushes the medium into brave new spaces. Rounding out the fantastical trio is the debut feature from Studio Ponoc, MARY AND THE WITCHES FLOWER, from ex Studio Ghibli key animator Hiromasa Yonebayashi, and JUNK HEAD, Takahide Hori’s claymation feature that took him over seven years to complete, entirely by himself.

American Genre Film Archive makes its triumphant return to Fantastic Fest with two movies that will rot your libido in the best way. BAT PUSSY, the world’s first X-rated parody, shares the spotlight the world premiere of a brand new 2K transfer of one of the most sought-after lost films in the history of exploitation cinema in a very special secret screening. Additional rep titles include the world premiere of the Takashi Miike-approved 4K restoration of ICHI THE KILLER, the digital remaster of the seminal Indian cult movie BAASHA, and Jean Rollin’s THE NUDE VAMPIRE, presented by Kier-la Janisse in celebration of her new book Lost Girls: The Phantasmagorical Cinema of Jean Rollin.

True to form, Fantastic Fest will be re-writing reality once more with a crowded cornucopia of events that invade all corners of the fest. Gross-out grub-gorging spectacle Puke and Explode rumbles once more, notorious VHS archival warriors Everything is Terrible return with an all-new show to both delight and horrify. Rotten Tomatoes joins the fray with Your Opinion Sucks, the ultimate live discussion about the best and worst in movies and TV shows. Comedy legend Gilbert Gottfried will be performing and screening the incredible biographical doc GILBERT, and the seminal Fantastic Debates marks its 10-year anniversary of polemic pugilism in spectacular fashion.

FINAL WAVE OF FILM LINEUP BELOW:

AGFA + SOMETHING WEIRD PRESENT: BAT PUSSY and SECRET SCREENING
American Genre Film Archive makes its triumphant return to Fantastic Fest with two movies that will rot your libido in the best way. BAT PUSSY, the world’s first X-rated parody, is what happens when an anonymous smut producer gets inspired by the 1960s BATMAN TV show but only has $5. It’s also what happens when your wildest dreams and most horrifying nightmares collide in an explosion of flaccid stupefaction. Next up, after years of detective work, AGFA presents the world premiere of a brand new 2K transfer of one of the most sought-after lost films in the history of exploitation cinema.

LOST GIRLS Book Launch: THE NUDE VAMPIRE presented by Kier-la Janisse
THE NUDE VAMPIRE
France, 1970
Repertory, 88 min
Director – Jean Rollin
Jean Rollin’s THE NUDE VAMPIRE (1970) follows a sinister businessman who’s keeping a young vampire girl captive and experimenting on her in the hope that he finds the key to eternal life. The film will be screened in celebration of the launch of the new book from publisher Spectacular Optical, LOST GIRLS: THE PHANTASMAGORICAL CINEMA OF JEAN ROLLIN, the first examination of Rollin’s work to be written by all women critics, scholars and film historians, and will be introduced by the book’s publisher Kier-La Janisse.

3FT BALL & SOULS
Japan, 2017
International Premiere, 93 min
Director – Yoshio Kato
Four strangers come together to commit suicide using explosives. But they discover that every time they blow up, they’re sent back to just before they killed themselves.

APPLECART
USA, 2017
World Premiere, 86 min
Director – Bradford Baruh
An idyllic weekend vacation to a secluded cabin turns deadly when the Pollack family discovers an unconscious woman whose sinister plans will pit the family members against each other.

BAASHA
India, 1995
Repertory/International Premiere, 165 min
Director – Suresh Krissna
Superstar Rajinikanth plays a rickshaw driver with a history of violence in this genre-defining musical gangster romance epic from the director of AALAVANDHAN.

BAD GENIUS
Thailand, 2017
Texas Premiere, 130 min
Director – Nattawut Poonpiriya
A quartet of high school students are better at cheating than anything you’ve ever done in your life in this epic nail-biter about the standardized tests that level the playing field for all kids, smart and dumb, rich and poor.

BEFORE WE VANISH
Japan, 2017
North American Premiere, 129 min
Director – Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Kurosawa’s latest film is a sci-fi thriller about an invasion in which aliens must come to understand humanity through understanding human emotion – most importantly, our collective capacity for love.

BLUE MY MIND
Switzerland, 2017
North American Premiere, 97 min
Director – Lisa Brühlmann
BLUE MY MIND follows 15-year-old Mia (Luna Wedler) as she undergoes a life-changing transformation, one that leaves her examining her body and her very existence in a new light.

BRIMSTONE & GLORY
Mexico, USA, 2017
Regional Premiere, 67 min
Director – Viktor Jakovleski
Tultepec is a small Mexican town that celebrates its love of fireworks with a yearly week-long festival. This festival is captured in a glorious documentary that is pure cinema.

THE CURED
Ireland, UK, France, 2017
US Premiere, 95 min
Director – David Freyne
A zombie virus has hit the world… but it has been cured. What’s next for the ex-zombies who have returned to normal? David Freyne’s debut feature throws lots of food for thought into the mouth of your mind.

DARKLAND
Denmark, 2017
US Premiere, 113 min
Director – Fenar Ahmad
An Iraqi doctor in Denmark seeks vigilante justice for his brother’s murder when the police come up short, biting off more than he can chew in a world of gangs, drugs and underground fight rings.

DOWNSIZING
USA, 2017
Regional Premiere, 135 min
Director – Alexander Payne
Everyman Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives in Omaha and move to a new downsized community in Alexander Payne’s brilliant social satire.

FIRSTBORN
Latvia, 2017
North American Premiere, 90 min
Director – Aik Karapetian
Provocative Latvian director Aik Karapetian returns to Fantastic Fest with a new thriller that explores how far a meek architect will go to protect his dignity in the eyes of his wife in the aftermath of an attack.

FIVE FINGERS FOR MARSEILLES
South Africa, 2017
US Premiere, 120 min
Director – Michael Matthews
A troubled young man returns to the town he fled as a youth and is forced to confront his past (and the town’s difficult future) in this gorgeous Sesotho language western.

GEMINI
USA, 2017
Special Screening, 93 min
Director – Aaron Katz
Our understandings of friendship, truth and celebrity are challenged when a heinous crime tests the complex relationship between a tenacious personal assistant (Lola Kirke) and her Hollywood starlet boss (Zoe Kravitz) in Aaron Katz’s latest.

GILBERT
USA, 2017
Regional Premiere, 99 min
Director – Neil Berkeley
GILBERT is the story of Gilbert Gottfried as never seen before, both a behind-the-scenes documentary and a poignant look at the life of a comedian who has more layers than most people can imagine.

GOOD MANNERS
Brazil, France, 2017
North American Premiere, 135 min
Directors – Juliana Rojas & Marco Dutra
When lonely nurse Clara is hired as a nanny by wealthy Ana, she hardly expects anything like the friendship she finds with the lonely, pregnant woman. However, both women have dark secrets which will engulf all that they hold dear.

HAUNTERS: THE ART OF THE SCARE
USA, 2017
World Premiere, 88 min
Director – Jon Schnitzer
Delving behind the scenes of one of America’s most beloved seasonal pastimes, HAUNTERS shows the world of the people who make the scariest houses, mazes and experiences  that range from the traditional to the controversial.

ICHI THE KILLER – 4K RESTORATION
Japan, 2001
Repertory/World Premiere of Restoration, 129 min
Director – Takashi Miike
The yakuza occupy a murky universe with more twists and turns than the Shinjuku alleys they call home. The mysterious disappearance of a Tokyo mob boss triggers a hunt to find him, dead or alive. The search leads to the city’s most depraved clubs and sex dens and eventually to Ichi, the schizophrenic hitman behind the crime. Even more shocking is the discovery that the mastermind who hired Ichi is a fellow gangster out for revenge.

JUNK HEAD
Japan, 2017
US Premiere, 114 min
Director – Takahide Hori
Humanity is dying. It’s been 1200 years since our rebellious clone workforce moved underground, and the only way we can survive is by plunging into the depths to learn more about our terrifying creations.

JUPITER’S MOON
Hungary, Germany, 2017
North American Premiere, 123 min
Director – Kornél Mundruczó
The most ambitious science fiction film of the year is also perhaps the most visually stunning. Aryan is a refugee who finds himself with the power to levitate after being shot. Stern is a disgraced, corrupt doctor. The two will meet and alter the entire world.

LES AFFAMES
Canada, 2017
US Premiere, 100 min
Director – Robin Aubert
In the remote Quebec countryside, things are not well. A plague has infected the land, affecting almost all the residents of a small village. The survivors have to navigate their new existence as well as deal with the infected with an appetite for flesh.

LET THE CORPSES TAN
Belgium, France, 2017
US Premiere, 92 min
Directors – Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani
On a beautiful corner of the Mediterranean, Rhino and his men take refuge after the robbery of 250 kilograms of gold. The plan is simple: Wait and split. But some unwanted visitors are about to turn this idyllic corner into a bloodbath.

LETTERKENNY
Canada, 2016
US Premiere, 151 min
Director – Jacob Tierney
The spiritual successors to STRANGE BREW’s Bob and Doug MacKenzie, the rural residents of the fictitious town of LETTERKENNY deliver a hysterical slice of Canadiana in the comedy phenomenon chronicling the daily problems of hicks, skids, hockey players and Christians.

THE LINE
Slovakia, Ukraine, 2017
North American Premiere, 112 min
Director – Peter Bebjak
One line is literal, the border between Slovakia and Ukraine. Criminal Adam Krajnak (Tomas Mastalir) crosses it often, smuggling product and people. The other line is metaphorical, and crossing it leads to a death spiral of violence and vengeance.

LOVE AND SAUCERS
USA/Canada, 2017
Texas Premiere, 67 min
Director – Brad Abrahams
David Huggins, a 72-year-old man who claims to have lost his virginity as a young man to an extraterrestrial being, turned to art to express his interspecies romance and lifelong relationship with the otherworldly.

MARY AND THE WITCH’S FLOWER
Japan, 2017
North American Premiere, 102 min
Director – Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Directing the first film out of Studio Ponoc, Hiromasa Yonebayashi (WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE) creates the dazzling and heartwarming story of an ordinary girl who becomes an extraordinary witch.

THE MERCILESS
South Korea, 2017
North American Premiere, 117 min
Director – Byun Sung-hyun
Cribbing liberally from the history of gangster films, Byun Sung-hyun’s hard-boiled Korean crime saga is filled with all manner of murder, deceit, double and triple crosses… and, oh yeah, slap-fighting.

MOM AND DAD
USA, 2017
US Premiere, 83 min
Director – Brian Taylor
Selma Blair and Nicolas Cage are seemingly ideal parents until an unknown force causes their town’s adults to murder their offspring.

MON MON MON MONSTERS
Taiwan, 2017
Regional Premiere, 112 min
Director – Giddens Ko
A bullied schoolboy is teamed up with his tormentors to do community social work. While on duty, they encounter a strange creature which they kidnap, and take bullying to a whole new level.

THE PRINCE OF NOTHINGWOOD
France, Germany, 2017
US Premiere, 85 min
Director – Sonia Kronlund
Meet Salim Shaheen: Afghani auteur, prolific actor and one-man moviemaking industry. Along with his trusted troupe of actors, he defies all the odds in the Middle East to fulfill his dreams of making movies.

PROFESSOR MARSTON & THE WONDER WOMEN
USA, 2017
US Premiere,108 min
Director – Angela Robinson
In a superhero origin tale unlike any other, this film is the incredible true story of what inspired Harvard psychologist Dr. William Moulton Marston to create the iconic Wonder Woman character in the 1940s.

RABBIT
Australia, 2017
International Premiere, 99 min
Director – Luke Shanahan
After a full year, Maude is still stricken by visions of her sister Cleo’s kidnapping. Believing that Cleo is still alive, Maude undergoes a suspenseful journey to find her in this stunning, atmospheric feature debut from Luke Shanahan.

RADIUS
Canada, 2017
US Premiere, 91 min
Directors – Caroline Labrèche & Steeve Léonard
When a man wakes up from a car crash with no memory of what happened, his first instinct is to find help. However, as he gets closer to civilization and other people, an ugly truth will rear its head and affect all those who surround him.

REVENGE
France, 2017
US Premiere, 108 min
Director – Coralie Fargeat
Three rich male thrill-seekers discover that Jennifer isn’t the human sex doll that they assumed she was when they invited her on their isolated hunting getaway. Jennifer teaches them fundamental lessons about consent in a manner that they – and we – won’t soon forget.

RIFT
Iceland, 2017
Texas Premiere, 111 min
Director – Erlingur Thoroddsen
After a phone call from his ex wakes him late one night, Gunnar drives out to a secluded vacation cottage to save Einar from himself, but what awaits him there is mystery and confusion.

SALYUT-7
Russia, 2017
World Premiere, 119 min
Director – Klim Shipenko
Based on a true story, SALYUT-7 is the little-known mission to dock with an unmanned space station in order to stop it from crashing into Earth, a feat never before attempted in space history.

THELMA
Norway, 2017
Texas Premiere, 116 min
Director – Joachim Trier
A conservative young woman attending college in Oslo begins to fall in love while discovering her burgeoning supernatural powers in a stunning new film from Norway.

THOROUGHBRED
USA, 2017
Austin Premiere, 92 min
Director – Cory Finley
Two teenage girls in suburban Connecticut rekindle their unlikely friendship after years of growing apart. In the process, they learn that neither is what she seems to be, and that a murder might solve both of their problems.

TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID
Mexico, 2017
World Premiere, 83 min
Director – Issa López
When her mother suddenly disappears with no one to care for her, young Estrella ends up on the street and joins a gang of children, triggering a dangerous and tragic chain of events in the third feature from Mexican filmmaker Lopez.

UNDER THE TREE
Iceland, Denmark, Poland, Germany, 2017
US Premiere, 89 min
Director – Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson
On the outskirts of Reykjavik, the shadow cast by a tree triggers a feud between two neighboring families, with tragic and darkly comic consequences.

V.I.P.
South Korea, 2017
International Premiere, 128 min
Director – Hoon-jung Park
A notorious serial killer who happens to be the son of a defecting DPRK official sends South Korea’s National Intelligence, police from both states and even international brass into a mad political scramble in this thrilling neo-noir.

VAMPIRE CLAY
Japan, 2017
US Premiere, 80 min
Director – Soichi Umezawa
A class of art school hopefuls is stalked by blood-thirsty, flesh-hungry clay in this bizarre practical effects-heavy horror assault from THE ABCs OF DEATH 2 segment director and longtime special makeup effects artist Umezawa.

VIDAR THE VAMPIRE
Norway, 2017
Texas Premiere, 82 min
Directors – Thomas Aske Berg & Fredrik Waldeland
Christian farmer Vidar has a boring life, living with his mom and tending sheep. When he wishes for more excitement he wakes up undead, hangs out with vampire Jesus and discovers that sometimes the party can go on too long.

WHEELMAN
USA, 2017
World Premiere, 82 min
Director – Jeremy Rush
Frank Grillo (KINGDOM; CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR) stars as the wheelman, a getaway driver thrust into a high stakes race to survive after a bank robbery goes terribly wrong. With a car full of money and his family on the line, the clock is ticking to figure out who double-crossed him and the only person he can trust… his 14-year-old daughter. All reasons to think fast and drive faster.

WORLD OF TOMORROW EPISODE TWO: THE BURDEN OF OTHER PEOPLE’S THOUGHTS
USA, 2017
World Premiere, 23 min
Director – Don Hertzfeldt
The highly anticipated follow-up to Don Hertzfeldt’s Oscar-nominated WORLD OF TOMORROW finds Emily Prime swept into the brain of an incomplete backup clone of her future self, who’s on a mission to reboot her broken mind. Continuing the tradition of the first film, WORLD OF TOMORROW EPISODE TWO was written entirely around candid audio recordings of Hertzfeldt’s five-year-old niece.

***
Alamo Drafthouse’s Fantastic Fest is proud to announce its final wave of big-screen bizarro from all corners of the cinematic world with Alexander Payne’s masterpiece-in-miniature, DOWNSIZING, bestowed the honor of closing night film. Fantastic-Fest first-timers making their way to Austin include Cory Finley and his razor sharp debut THOROUGHBRED, and fan-favorite tough guy extraordinaire Frank Grillo, who will be on hand to flex some muscle for the World Premiere of his nail-biting getaway drama, WHEELMAN.

In keeping with world premieres, Fantastic Fest is proud to announce a fistful of titles that will receive their big screen bows. Screen great Barbara Crampton will be in attendance with director Bradford Baruh for a ride in his chilling APPLECART, featuring over forty minutes of zero gravity footage; Russia’s SALYUT-7 is guaranteed to pop 3D eyes; HAUNTERS: THE ART OF THE SCARE walks us through the world’s most terrifying haunted houses; and TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID delivers a contemporary fairytale from within the world of the mexican cartels.

“I’m incredibly proud of the vast array of filmmaking on display in this year’s program,” said Fantastic Fest Creative Director Evrim Ersoy. “From the most highly acclaimed studio titles to the smallest independent debuts, it’s exhilarating to embrace unique creativity from the four corners of the world. Bringing filmmakers together in a program that highlights the increasing diversity of cinema is truly an honor that we can’t wait to share with our audience.”

Female filmmakers once again deliver powerful voices with three of the most dynamic films of the festival. Angel Robinson will be in attendance to share the controversially kinky true story behind the year’s biggest superhero with PROFESSOR MARSTON & THE WONDER WOMEN; Lisa Bruhlmann makes a stunning entrance with her fantastical coming-of-age debut BLUE MY MIND; and not to be outdone, first time feature-maker Coralie Fargeat turns the revenge genre upside down with her outrageous femme fatale fiesta, REVENGE.

A mainstay of Fantastic Fest has been showcasing world cinema’s finest exports and this year is no exception. Asia basks in the glory of master Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s return to the apocalyptic fold with BEFORE WE VANISH (Japan), while his countryman Sôichi Umezawa delivers the outlandish midnight spectacle of VAMPIRE CLAY (Japan). South Korea represents with the year’s toughest crime caper, THE MERCILESS, and serial killer shocker V.I.P., while NYAFF award-winner BAD GENIUS represents Thailand. And Taiwan shows school students no mercy with the hyper-violent MON MON MON MONSTERS. Not to be outdone, Europe comes out swinging with Hungarian auteur Kornél Mundruczó’s follow up to WHITE GOD, the stunning JUPITER’S MOON, French filmmakers Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani splash their hyper-stylized western LET THE CORPSES TAN across the screen and Norway’s Joachim Trier delivers one of the most quietly impressive films of the year, the assured THELMA.

The world premiere of Don Hertzfeldt’s WORLD OF TOMORROW EPISODE 2: THE BURDEN OF OTHER PEOPLE’S THOUGHTS highlights an animated sidebar that pushes the medium into brave new spaces. Rounding out the fantastical trio is the debut feature from Studio Ponoc, MARY AND THE WITCHES FLOWER, from ex Studio Ghibli key animator Hiromasa Yonebayashi, and JUNK HEAD, Takahide Hori’s claymation feature that took him over seven years to complete, entirely by himself.

American Genre Film Archive makes its triumphant return to Fantastic Fest with two movies that will rot your libido in the best way. BAT PUSSY, the world’s first X-rated parody, shares the spotlight the world premiere of a brand new 2K transfer of one of the most sought-after lost films in the history of exploitation cinema in a very special secret screening. Additional rep titles include the world premiere of the Takashi Miike-approved 4K restoration of ICHI THE KILLER, the digital remaster of the seminal Indian cult movie BAASHA, and Jean Rollin’s THE NUDE VAMPIRE, presented by Kier-la Janisse in celebration of her new book Lost Girls: The Phantasmagorical Cinema of Jean Rollin.

True to form, Fantastic Fest will be re-writing reality once more with a crowded cornucopia of events that invade all corners of the fest. Gross-out grub-gorging spectacle Puke and Explode rumbles once more, notorious VHS archival warriors Everything is Terrible return with an all-new show to both delight and horrify. Rotten Tomatoes joins the fray with Your Opinion Sucks, the ultimate live discussion about the best and worst in movies and TV shows. Comedy legend Gilbert Gottfried will be performing and screening the incredible biographical doc GILBERT, and the seminal Fantastic Debates marks its 10-year anniversary of polemic pugilism in spectacular fashion.

FINAL WAVE OF FILM LINEUP BELOW:

AGFA + SOMETHING WEIRD PRESENT: BAT PUSSY and SECRET SCREENING
American Genre Film Archive makes its triumphant return to Fantastic Fest with two movies that will rot your libido in the best way. BAT PUSSY, the world’s first X-rated parody, is what happens when an anonymous smut producer gets inspired by the 1960s BATMAN TV show but only has $5. It’s also what happens when your wildest dreams and most horrifying nightmares collide in an explosion of flaccid stupefaction. Next up, after years of detective work, AGFA presents the world premiere of a brand new 2K transfer of one of the most sought-after lost films in the history of exploitation cinema.

LOST GIRLS Book Launch: THE NUDE VAMPIRE presented by Kier-la Janisse
THE NUDE VAMPIRE
France, 1970
Repertory, 88 min
Director – Jean Rollin
Jean Rollin’s THE NUDE VAMPIRE (1970) follows a sinister businessman who’s keeping a young vampire girl captive and experimenting on her in the hope that he finds the key to eternal life. The film will be screened in celebration of the launch of the new book from publisher Spectacular Optical, LOST GIRLS: THE PHANTASMAGORICAL CINEMA OF JEAN ROLLIN, the first examination of Rollin’s work to be written by all women critics, scholars and film historians, and will be introduced by the book’s publisher Kier-La Janisse.

3FT BALL & SOULS
Japan, 2017
International Premiere, 93 min
Director – Yoshio Kato
Four strangers come together to commit suicide using explosives. But they discover that every time they blow up, they’re sent back to just before they killed themselves.

APPLECART
USA, 2017
World Premiere, 86 min
Director – Bradford Baruh
An idyllic weekend vacation to a secluded cabin turns deadly when the Pollack family discovers an unconscious woman whose sinister plans will pit the family members against each other.

BAASHA
India, 1995
Repertory/International Premiere, 165 min
Director – Suresh Krissna
Superstar Rajinikanth plays a rickshaw driver with a history of violence in this genre-defining musical gangster romance epic from the director of AALAVANDHAN.

BAD GENIUS
Thailand, 2017
Texas Premiere, 130 min
Director – Nattawut Poonpiriya
A quartet of high school students are better at cheating than anything you’ve ever done in your life in this epic nail-biter about the standardized tests that level the playing field for all kids, smart and dumb, rich and poor.

BEFORE WE VANISH
Japan, 2017
North American Premiere, 129 min
Director – Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Kurosawa’s latest film is a sci-fi thriller about an invasion in which aliens must come to understand humanity through understanding human emotion – most importantly, our collective capacity for love.

BLUE MY MIND
Switzerland, 2017
North American Premiere, 97 min
Director – Lisa Brühlmann
BLUE MY MIND follows 15-year-old Mia (Luna Wedler) as she undergoes a life-changing transformation, one that leaves her examining her body and her very existence in a new light.

BRIMSTONE & GLORY
Mexico, USA, 2017
Regional Premiere, 67 min
Director – Viktor Jakovleski
Tultepec is a small Mexican town that celebrates its love of fireworks with a yearly week-long festival. This festival is captured in a glorious documentary that is pure cinema.

THE CURED
Ireland, UK, France, 2017
US Premiere, 95 min
Director – David Freyne
A zombie virus has hit the world… but it has been cured. What’s next for the ex-zombies who have returned to normal? David Freyne’s debut feature throws lots of food for thought into the mouth of your mind.

DARKLAND
Denmark, 2017
US Premiere, 113 min
Director – Fenar Ahmad
An Iraqi doctor in Denmark seeks vigilante justice for his brother’s murder when the police come up short, biting off more than he can chew in a world of gangs, drugs and underground fight rings.

DOWNSIZING
USA, 2017
Regional Premiere, 135 min
Director – Alexander Payne
Everyman Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives in Omaha and move to a new downsized community in Alexander Payne’s brilliant social satire.

FIRSTBORN
Latvia, 2017
North American Premiere, 90 min
Director – Aik Karapetian
Provocative Latvian director Aik Karapetian returns to Fantastic Fest with a new thriller that explores how far a meek architect will go to protect his dignity in the eyes of his wife in the aftermath of an attack.

FIVE FINGERS FOR MARSEILLES
South Africa, 2017
US Premiere, 120 min
Director – Michael Matthews
A troubled young man returns to the town he fled as a youth and is forced to confront his past (and the town’s difficult future) in this gorgeous Sesotho language western.

GEMINI
USA, 2017
Special Screening, 93 min
Director – Aaron Katz
Our understandings of friendship, truth and celebrity are challenged when a heinous crime tests the complex relationship between a tenacious personal assistant (Lola Kirke) and her Hollywood starlet boss (Zoe Kravitz) in Aaron Katz’s latest.

GILBERT
USA, 2017
Regional Premiere, 99 min
Director – Neil Berkeley
GILBERT is the story of Gilbert Gottfried as never seen before, both a behind-the-scenes documentary and a poignant look at the life of a comedian who has more layers than most people can imagine.

GOOD MANNERS
Brazil, France, 2017
North American Premiere, 135 min
Directors – Juliana Rojas & Marco Dutra
When lonely nurse Clara is hired as a nanny by wealthy Ana, she hardly expects anything like the friendship she finds with the lonely, pregnant woman. However, both women have dark secrets which will engulf all that they hold dear.

HAUNTERS: THE ART OF THE SCARE
USA, 2017
World Premiere, 88 min
Director – Jon Schnitzer
Delving behind the scenes of one of America’s most beloved seasonal pastimes, HAUNTERS shows the world of the people who make the scariest houses, mazes and experiences  that range from the traditional to the controversial.

ICHI THE KILLER – 4K RESTORATION
Japan, 2001
Repertory/World Premiere of Restoration, 129 min
Director – Takashi Miike
The yakuza occupy a murky universe with more twists and turns than the Shinjuku alleys they call home. The mysterious disappearance of a Tokyo mob boss triggers a hunt to find him, dead or alive. The search leads to the city’s most depraved clubs and sex dens and eventually to Ichi, the schizophrenic hitman behind the crime. Even more shocking is the discovery that the mastermind who hired Ichi is a fellow gangster out for revenge.

JUNK HEAD
Japan, 2017
US Premiere, 114 min
Director – Takahide Hori
Humanity is dying. It’s been 1200 years since our rebellious clone workforce moved underground, and the only way we can survive is by plunging into the depths to learn more about our terrifying creations.

JUPITER’S MOON
Hungary, Germany, 2017
North American Premiere, 123 min
Director – Kornél Mundruczó
The most ambitious science fiction film of the year is also perhaps the most visually stunning. Aryan is a refugee who finds himself with the power to levitate after being shot. Stern is a disgraced, corrupt doctor. The two will meet and alter the entire world.

LES AFFAMES
Canada, 2017
US Premiere, 100 min
Director – Robin Aubert
In the remote Quebec countryside, things are not well. A plague has infected the land, affecting almost all the residents of a small village. The survivors have to navigate their new existence as well as deal with the infected with an appetite for flesh.

LET THE CORPSES TAN
Belgium, France, 2017
US Premiere, 92 min
Directors – Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani
On a beautiful corner of the Mediterranean, Rhino and his men take refuge after the robbery of 250 kilograms of gold. The plan is simple: Wait and split. But some unwanted visitors are about to turn this idyllic corner into a bloodbath.

LETTERKENNY
Canada, 2016
US Premiere, 151 min
Director – Jacob Tierney
The spiritual successors to STRANGE BREW’s Bob and Doug MacKenzie, the rural residents of the fictitious town of LETTERKENNY deliver a hysterical slice of Canadiana in the comedy phenomenon chronicling the daily problems of hicks, skids, hockey players and Christians.

THE LINE
Slovakia, Ukraine, 2017
North American Premiere, 112 min
Director – Peter Bebjak
One line is literal, the border between Slovakia and Ukraine. Criminal Adam Krajnak (Tomas Mastalir) crosses it often, smuggling product and people. The other line is metaphorical, and crossing it leads to a death spiral of violence and vengeance.

LOVE AND SAUCERS
USA/Canada, 2017
Texas Premiere, 67 min
Director – Brad Abrahams
David Huggins, a 72-year-old man who claims to have lost his virginity as a young man to an extraterrestrial being, turned to art to express his interspecies romance and lifelong relationship with the otherworldly.

MARY AND THE WITCH’S FLOWER
Japan, 2017
North American Premiere, 102 min
Director – Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Directing the first film out of Studio Ponoc, Hiromasa Yonebayashi (WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE) creates the dazzling and heartwarming story of an ordinary girl who becomes an extraordinary witch.

THE MERCILESS
South Korea, 2017
North American Premiere, 117 min
Director – Byun Sung-hyun
Cribbing liberally from the history of gangster films, Byun Sung-hyun’s hard-boiled Korean crime saga is filled with all manner of murder, deceit, double and triple crosses… and, oh yeah, slap-fighting.

MOM AND DAD
USA, 2017
US Premiere, 83 min
Director – Brian Taylor
Selma Blair and Nicolas Cage are seemingly ideal parents until an unknown force causes their town’s adults to murder their offspring.

MON MON MON MONSTERS
Taiwan, 2017
Regional Premiere, 112 min
Director – Giddens Ko
A bullied schoolboy is teamed up with his tormentors to do community social work. While on duty, they encounter a strange creature which they kidnap, and take bullying to a whole new level.

THE PRINCE OF NOTHINGWOOD
France, Germany, 2017
US Premiere, 85 min
Director – Sonia Kronlund
Meet Salim Shaheen: Afghani auteur, prolific actor and one-man moviemaking industry. Along with his trusted troupe of actors, he defies all the odds in the Middle East to fulfill his dreams of making movies.

PROFESSOR MARSTON & THE WONDER WOMEN
USA, 2017
US Premiere,108 min
Director – Angela Robinson
In a superhero origin tale unlike any other, this film is the incredible true story of what inspired Harvard psychologist Dr. William Moulton Marston to create the iconic Wonder Woman character in the 1940s.

RABBIT
Australia, 2017
International Premiere, 99 min
Director – Luke Shanahan
After a full year, Maude is still stricken by visions of her sister Cleo’s kidnapping. Believing that Cleo is still alive, Maude undergoes a suspenseful journey to find her in this stunning, atmospheric feature debut from Luke Shanahan.

RADIUS
Canada, 2017
US Premiere, 91 min
Directors – Caroline Labrèche & Steeve Léonard
When a man wakes up from a car crash with no memory of what happened, his first instinct is to find help. However, as he gets closer to civilization and other people, an ugly truth will rear its head and affect all those who surround him.

REVENGE
France, 2017
US Premiere, 108 min
Director – Coralie Fargeat
Three rich male thrill-seekers discover that Jennifer isn’t the human sex doll that they assumed she was when they invited her on their isolated hunting getaway. Jennifer teaches them fundamental lessons about consent in a manner that they – and we – won’t soon forget.

RIFT
Iceland, 2017
Texas Premiere, 111 min
Director – Erlingur Thoroddsen
After a phone call from his ex wakes him late one night, Gunnar drives out to a secluded vacation cottage to save Einar from himself, but what awaits him there is mystery and confusion.

SALYUT-7
Russia, 2017
World Premiere, 119 min
Director – Klim Shipenko
Based on a true story, SALYUT-7 is the little-known mission to dock with an unmanned space station in order to stop it from crashing into Earth, a feat never before attempted in space history.

THELMA
Norway, 2017
Texas Premiere, 116 min
Director – Joachim Trier
A conservative young woman attending college in Oslo begins to fall in love while discovering her burgeoning supernatural powers in a stunning new film from Norway.

THOROUGHBRED
USA, 2017
Austin Premiere, 92 min
Director – Cory Finley
Two teenage girls in suburban Connecticut rekindle their unlikely friendship after years of growing apart. In the process, they learn that neither is what she seems to be, and that a murder might solve both of their problems.

TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID
Mexico, 2017
World Premiere, 83 min
Director – Issa López
When her mother suddenly disappears with no one to care for her, young Estrella ends up on the street and joins a gang of children, triggering a dangerous and tragic chain of events in the third feature from Mexican filmmaker Lopez.

UNDER THE TREE
Iceland, Denmark, Poland, Germany, 2017
US Premiere, 89 min
Director – Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson
On the outskirts of Reykjavik, the shadow cast by a tree triggers a feud between two neighboring families, with tragic and darkly comic consequences.

V.I.P.
South Korea, 2017
International Premiere, 128 min
Director – Hoon-jung Park
A notorious serial killer who happens to be the son of a defecting DPRK official sends South Korea’s National Intelligence, police from both states and even international brass into a mad political scramble in this thrilling neo-noir.

VAMPIRE CLAY
Japan, 2017
US Premiere, 80 min
Director – Soichi Umezawa
A class of art school hopefuls is stalked by blood-thirsty, flesh-hungry clay in this bizarre practical effects-heavy horror assault from THE ABCs OF DEATH 2 segment director and longtime special makeup effects artist Umezawa.

VIDAR THE VAMPIRE
Norway, 2017
Texas Premiere, 82 min
Directors – Thomas Aske Berg & Fredrik Waldeland
Christian farmer Vidar has a boring life, living with his mom and tending sheep. When he wishes for more excitement he wakes up undead, hangs out with vampire Jesus and discovers that sometimes the party can go on too long.

WHEELMAN
USA, 2017
World Premiere, 82 min
Director – Jeremy Rush
Frank Grillo (KINGDOM; CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR) stars as the wheelman, a getaway driver thrust into a high stakes race to survive after a bank robbery goes terribly wrong. With a car full of money and his family on the line, the clock is ticking to figure out who double-crossed him and the only person he can trust… his 14-year-old daughter. All reasons to think fast and drive faster.

WORLD OF TOMORROW EPISODE TWO: THE BURDEN OF OTHER PEOPLE’S THOUGHTS
USA, 2017
World Premiere, 23 min
Director – Don Hertzfeldt
The highly anticipated follow-up to Don Hertzfeldt’s Oscar-nominated WORLD OF TOMORROW finds Emily Prime swept into the brain of an incomplete backup clone of her future self, who’s on a mission to reboot her broken mind. Continuing the tradition of the first film, WORLD OF TOMORROW EPISODE TWO was written entirely around candid audio recordings of Hertzfeldt’s five-year-old niece.

2017 Fantastic Fest: Satellite offshoots added in New York, San Francisco, Denver

September 1, 2017

Fantastic Fest 2017 LOGO

The following is a press release from Fantastic Fest:

Fantastic Fest is proud to announce the creation of a trio of ‘satellites’ hitting three flagship Alamo Drafthouse theater locations: New York, San Francisco and Denver. Spanning the weekend of September 29 to October 1, these satellites will share a highly-curated selection of Fantastic Fest’s signature programming with audiences who crave the best in adventurous genre cinema from across the world.

“For too long Austin has had all the Fantastic fun,” said Fantastic Fest Creative Director, Evrim Ersoy. “We’ve long wanted to share these brilliant films with the widest audience possible, by opening up these three satellites it’s our first step in expanding their exposure and having them embraced by new audiences.”

This year’s slate of satellite films share the the DNA and lineage of programming that has helped Fantastic Fest become the largest genre film festival in the U.S. and be dubbed “America’s wildest film festival” by The Guardian. Highlights include S. Craig Zahler’s Venice Festival debutante BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99, Takashi Miike’s deliriously violent 100th film BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL, MY FRIEND DAHMER, Marc Myers’ powerful adaptation of the celebrated graphic novel and a super secret, mystery movie courtesy of American Genre FIlm Archive that has to be seen to be believed.

Tickets for these shows will go on sale Wednesday September 7th at 1pm EST. A limited number of badges for the San Francisco Fantastic Fest will go on sale today at 12pm PST.

New York Fantastic Fest – Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn
AGFA Presents: Mystery Movie
Blade of the Immortal
Brawl In Cell Block 99
Jailbreak
My Friend Dahmer
Top Knot Detective

San Francisco Fantastic Fest – Alamo Drafthouse Mission
AGFA Presents: Mystery Movie
Brawl In Cell Block 99
Hagazussa
Jailbreak
My Friend Dahmer
The Square
Top Knot Detective

Denver Fantastic Fest – Alamo Drafthouse Denver- Sloan Lake
AGFA Presents: Mystery Movie
Blade of the Immortal
Brawl In Cell Block 99
Hagazussa
Jailbreak
My Friend Dahmer
The Square
Top Knot Detective

2017 BFI London Film Festival: programming slate announced

August 31, 2017

2017 BFI London Film Festival logo

The following is a press release from the BFI London Film Festival

BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express® today announces its full programme, featuring a diverse selection of 242 feature films from both established and emerging talent. This 12 day celebration of cinema illustrates the richness of international filmmaking, with films to delight and entertain audiences, and also films that probe and interrogate issues of significance.

The Festival is the UK’s leading and most prestigious film festival, representing one of the first opportunities for audiences – both the UK public and film industry professionals – to see the very best new films from across the globe, alongside an events programme with some of the world’s most inspiring creative talents. This year, the Festival will host 28 World Premieres, 9 International Premieres and 34 European Premieres and will welcome a stellar line up of cast and crew for many of the films.’

The 242 feature programmes screening at the Festival include: 46 documentaries, 6 animations, 14 archive restorations and 16 artists’ moving image features. The programme also includes 128 short films, and 67 countries are represented across short film and features.
Each evening of the Festival sees a Headline Gala presentation at Odeon Leicester Square. Films in Official Competition and Strand Galas are once again presented at the 820-seat Embankment Garden Cinema following a successful inaugural year in 2016, with audiences and filmmakers alike praising its quality of cinema experience. This temporary venue, constructed to the highest technical specifications, brings the festival to even more people and connects screenings in the West End with the BFI’s home cinema at BFI Southbank.

Alongside the Galas, Special Presentations and films in Competitions, the Festival will show a thrilling range of new cinema in sections Love, Debate, Laugh, Dare, Thrill, Cult, Journey, Experimenta and Family – which provide pathways for audiences to navigate the programme. In 2017, the LFF presents a new strand, Create, featuring films that celebrate artistic practice in all its channels and forms the electricity of the creative process, reflecting London’s position as one of the world’s leading creative cities.

Audiences have the opportunity to hear some of the world’s creative leaders through the Festival’s acclaimed talks’ series LFF Connects, which features artists working at the intersection of film and other creative industries, and Screen Talks, a series of in-depth interviews with leaders in contemporary cinema. Participants this year include Julian Rosefeldt & Cate Blanchett, David Fincher, Demis Hassabis, Nitin Sawhney, Johan Knattrup Jensen, Ian McEwan and Takashi Miike.

As one of the few film festivals in the world to be staged in a production capital, the Festival takes its place as a jewel in the crown of London’s cultural calendar, channelling the excellence of one of the world’s most vibrant cultural cities, and highlighting the enormous wealth of talent working in film today, both behind and in front of the camera. Alongside the industry programme and Awards, the Festival proudly acts as a launch
pad for new as well as established voices, and supports filmmakers throughout their career aiming to interrogate how film and filmmaking reflects – and reflects on – our society.

The BFI London Film Festival each year provides a vibrant forum for the exchange of ideas, with films stimulating debate and shining a light on pressing social and political issues. This year a number of ‘talking points’ ripple through the Festival programme, including:
• LBGT – In the year of the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales, the Festival presents a powerful LGBT line-up.
• Immigration and Social Division – Two of the defining themes of our times are explored by filmmakers who are committed to telling powerful and complex stories about borders – both real and psychological.
• Black Star – Following the BFI’s landmark season celebrating the range, versatility and power of black actors in film, recent world events give new urgency to questions of opportunity, and basic human rights.
• Visionaries – Cinema remains one of the most exhilaratingly kinetic and visually potent storytelling forms, and many filmmakers this year impress with the singularity and power of their vision, with keen imagination and dazzling style.
• Thrill – It’s a very strong year for global thrill seekers at the Festival, with a particularly strong showing from East Asia, which comes as the BFI embarks on the UK-wide season BFI Thriller, exploring how the genre reflects societal upheavals, fears and anxieties.
• Strong Women – The Festival continues to shine a light on strong women behind and in front of the camera. At this year’s Festival, 61 women directors are represented in the feature film selection, approximately 25% of the programme.
• Deafness and disability – Both feature with marked prominence in this year’s Festival programme, though the film industry still has a long way to go in terms of representation for disabled people. The Festival’s industry programme will include a partnership event on equality of opportunity and expression for deaf and disabled people working in film & television.
The Festival takes over screens at fifteen venues across the capital, from the West End cinemas – Vue Leicester Square and the iconic Odeon Leicester Square; central London venues – BFI Southbank, BFI IMAX, Picturehouse Central, the ICA, Curzon Mayfair, Curzon Soho, Empire Haymarket, Prince Charles Cinema and Ciné Lumière; and local cinemas – Hackney Picturehouse , Rich Mix in Shoreditch and Curzon Chelsea. Special screenings will also be held at the National Gallery and the Barbican, and several key events will also be cinecasted to cinema venues around the UK.

“It is a delight to welcome some of the most thrilling storytellers from across the world to the Festival – we love to watch and engage with the extraordinary conversations that the Festival brings to our doorstep with every edition,” comments Amanda Nevill, Chief Executive, BFI. “London has a big heart and this year we are again reminded of the generosity and freedom of this awesome capital city of ours which so readily embraces this multiplicity of cultures and new voices. This creativity is reflected across the UK and the engine that is enabling filmmaking to thrive, supported by a favourable fiscal environment, outstanding skills and talent and ever expanding infrastructure and facilities.”

“In these globally tumultuous times, filmmakers around the world have increasingly urgent stories to tell and more reasons than ever to reimagine our reality,” comments Clare Stewart, Festival Director. “This year’s BFI London Film Festival programme is rich with opportunity – to stay informed, be challenged, feel the pleasure of escape and see the world differently.”
Whether it’s short films or documentaries, live action or animation, audiences should find a film to suit their passions – and with a range of ticket options, including family ticket prices and £5 rush tickets for under-25s, the Festival will bring the vibrancy of the world’s film industry to as many people as possible, offering an unparalleled experience to see the films that everyone will be talking for months.

GALAS

OPENING & CLOSING NIGHT GALAS

As previously announced, the Festival opens with the European Premiere of BREATHE, the directorial debut of Andy Serkis, on Wednesday 4 October. Adventurous and charismatic, Robin Cavendish (Andrew Garfield) has his whole life ahead of him when he is paralysed by polio whilst in Africa and given just months to live. Against all advice, Robin’s wife Diana (Claire Foy) brings him home from hospital where her devotion and witty determination inspire him to lead along and fulfilled life. Together they refuse to be limited by expectations, dazzling others with their humour, courage and lust for life. A live cinecast brings all of the excitement from Leicester Square to simultaneous screenings taking place at cinemas across the UK.

The Festival closes with Martin McDonagh’s THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI on Sunday 15 October, marking McDonagh’s return to the Festival following the presentation of Seven Pyschopaths (2012). THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI is a darkly comic drama, which sees Mildred Hayes (Academy Award® winner Frances McDormand) take a stand against the town’s revered chief of police, William Willoughby (Academy Award® nominee Woody Harrelson) after months have passed without a culprit in her daughter’s murder case.

HEADLINE GALAS

The American Express Gala is the rousing BATTLE OF THE SEXES. Receiving its European Premiere, Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton’s film dramatises the build up to the 1973 tennis match between women’s world champion Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and ex-men’s-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell). Billed ‘Battle of the Sexes’ in the wake of the sexual revolution and the rise of the women’s movement, the match became one of the most watched televised sports events of all time, reaching 90 million viewers around the world.

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME features as the Mayor of London’s Gala. Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love, A Bigger Splash LFF 2015) returns to the Festival with this adaptation of André Aciman’s coming-of-age novel – a sun-kissed, cinematic ode to the ecstasy and exquisite pain of first love, starring Timothée Chalamet as Elio, a musically gifted 17-year-old whose idyllic summer break takes a tumultuous turn when Oliver (Armie Hammer) arrives to stay at the family palazzo.

The BFI Patrons’ Gala, DOWNSIZING, is a wildly inventive and satirical film from Alexander Payne (Nebraska, LFF 2014) which puts climate change, mobility and immigration under the microscope. After Norwegian scientists discover a method for shrinking people to pocket-size as part of a grand design to limit humanity’s footprint, a thriving parallel ‘small’ society emerges. Ordinary, work-a-day Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) wants to scale-up his options by sizing-down, but things begin to go awry when his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) gets cold feet.

The May Fair Hotel Gala is the European Premiere of FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL, in which Annette Bening and Jamie Bell vividly bring to the screen the intense romance between Academy Award®-winning star of The Big Heat and In a Lonely Place, Gloria Grahame and her much younger lover. The film is directed by Paul McGuigan and produced by Colin Vaines and Barbara Broccoli.

Director Saul Dibb brings R C Sheriff’s classic play JOURNEY’S END to the big screen with shattering potency. When C Company, led by Captain Stanhope (Sam Claflin) is about to take its posting on the front line during the First World War, with munitions and morale depleted each man’s character is laid bare. The film receives its European Premiere at the LFF.
Yorgos Lanthimos follow-ups The Lobster (LFF 2015), with Headline Gala THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER. Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman star in a deliciously twisted and slyly macabre morality tale which interlaces elements of Greek tragedy, surrealism and absurdist horror.

Richard Linklater returns to the Festival with the International Premiere of LAST FLAG FLYING, a tribute and sequel to Hal Ashby’s The Last Detail. Both droll road movie and a meditation on the futility of war, the film stars Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne as an endearingly shambolic threesome of veterans reunited by one man’s tragedy.

MUDBOUND is Dees Rees’ triumphant return to the Festival after Pariah (LFF 2011). Receiving its European Premiere as the Royal Bank of Canada Gala, her majestic epic examines the histories of two families in the Deep South, charting how the unlikely friendship of two Second World War veterans ignites racial tension.

Exuberantly drawing on classic 1950s sci-fi B-movies and the on-going fascination with Area 51 conspiracy theories, the American Airlines Gala THE SHAPE OF WATER, is an old-school tale of the inexplicable and pure cinematic joy from Guillermo del Toro, featuring a wonderful central performance from Sally Hawkins.
Former Best Film and Sutherland Winner, Lynne Ramsay returns to the Festival with Headline Gala YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE, a stark inversion of the noir thriller. This devastatingly brutal portrayal of one man’s battle with repression and abuse is anchored by a rage-fuelled, Cannes-winning performance from Joaquin Phoenix.

STRAND AND FESTIVAL GALAS

The Festival Gala, in association with Time Out, features Sean Baker’s magical, magnificent and madcap follow up to Tangerine (LFF 2015), THE FLORIDA PROJECT, an instant classic about childhood innocence set against the backdrop of America’s failed economy.
More about Strand Galas can be found in each of the sections below but in 2017, they are: the Dare Gala, François Ozon’s AMANT DOUBLE; the Family Gala, Benjamin Renner and Patrick Imbert’s THE BIG BAD FOX AND OTHER TALES; the Thrill Gala, Takashi Miike’s BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL; the Debate Gala, Samuel Maoz’s FOXTROT; the Laugh Gala in association with Empire, Noah Baumbach’s THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES (NEW AND SELECTED); the Love Gala, Dominic Cooke’s ON CHESIL BEACH; the Create Gala, Michel Hazanavicius’ REDOUBTABLE; the Archive Gala, SHIRAZ: A ROMANCE OF INDIA; the Cult Gala, Joachim Trier’s THELMA and the Journey Gala, Todd Haynes’ WONDERSTRUCK.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

Eight Special Presentations shine the spotlight on new work from major directors. The European Premiere of DARK RIVER is Clio Barnard’s searing, eloquent response to Rose Tremain’s novel Trespass in which two siblings struggle to come to terms with their inheritance following the death of their father. With HAPPY END, Michael Haneke ingeniously reworks and updates the enduringly relevant themes of all his previous films in one brief, brilliant, sometimes slyly satirical gem, whilst Sally Potter’s THE PARTY brings together a brilliant ensemble cast for a supremely entertaining satire on Britain’s political elite. Lucretia Martel makes an eagerly awaited follow up to 2008’s The Headless Woman with ZAMA, presented in association with Sight & Sound, a film charting the epic decline of an 18th century colonial empire ruled over by a distant Spain.

Following the success of last year’s inaugural event, the BFI Flare Special Presentation returns with A FANTASTIC WOMAN, Sebastián Lelio’s brilliant and avowedly queer drama about a transwoman navigating the death of her lover. The Documentary Special Presentation is the European Premiere of THE FINAL YEAR, recounting the final, momentous year of the Obama administration with extraordinary intimacy by Greg Barker, whose Manhunt screened in the LFF 2013 Documentary Competition, whilst the Experimenta Special Presentation, LOOKING FOR OUM KULTHUM sees the return of Iranian artist Shirin Neshat with a film-within-a-film about one of the Arab world’s greatest ever female vocalists. Finally, 2017 sees the first LFF Connects Special Presentation with the European Premiere of the first two episodes of MINDHUNTER, David Fincher’s sharply scripted Zodiac-style procedural, based on the men who first coined the phrase ‘serial killer’.

Key filmmaking talent due to attend the Festival’s gala and special presentation screenings include:
Andy Serkis, Andrew Garfield, Claire Foy, Martin McDonagh, Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, Valerie Faris, Jonathan Dayton, Emma Stone, Andrea Riseborough, Elisabeth Shue, Luca Guadagnino, Timothée Chalamet, Paul McGuigan, Annette Bening, Jamie Bell, Julie Walters, Saul Dibb, Sam Claflin, Asa Butterfield, Toby Jones, Stephen Graham, Yorgos Lanthimos, Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Barry Keoghan, Richard Linklater, Bryan Cranston, Dee Rees, Carey Mulligan, Jason Mitchell, Mary J. Blige, Garrett Hedlund, Guillermo del Toro, Lynne Ramsay, Joaquin Phoenix, François Ozon, Patrick Imbert, Takashi Miike, Sean Baker, Brooklynn Kimberly Prince, Valeria Cotto, Bria Vinaite, Samuel Maoz, Noah Baumbach, Emma Thompson, Saoirse Ronan, Billy Howle, Michel Hazanavicius, Louis Garrel, Stacy Martin, Bérénice Bejo, Joachim Trier, Todd Haynes, Oakes Fegley, Jaden Michael, Clio Barnard, Daniela Vega, Greg Barker, Shirin Neshat, David Fincher, Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallanay, Sally Potter, Bruno Ganz, Emily Mortimer, Cillian Murphy, Kristin Scott Thomas, Timothy Spall, Lucrecia Martel.

AWARDS AND COMPETITIONS

The BFI London Film Festival Awards celebrate the highest creative achievements of British and international filmmakers showcased in our Competitive sections, applauding extraordinary storytelling and inventive filmmaking across all the categories. The winners in each competition are selected by festival juries and announced at the LFF Awards, a high profile awards dinner held at Banqueting House on Saturday 14 October.

The Best Film Award is presented to the winner of the Official Competition; the Sutherland Award is presented to the winner of the First Feature Competition and the Grierson Award is presented to the winning film in the Documentary Competition. Each section is open to International and British films. The Jury for each category will be announced ahead of the opening of the Festival. Paul Greengrass will be presented with the BFI Fellowship award at this year’s Awards ceremony.

OFFICIAL COMPETITION

The Official Competition, recognising inspiring, inventive and distinctive filmmaking, includes the following shortlisted titles:
 Robin Campillo, 120 BPM (BEATS PER MINUTE)
 Vivian Qu, ANGELS WEAR WHITE
 Majid Majidi, BEYOND THE CLOUDS (World Premiere)
 Nora Twomey, THE BREADWINNER (European Premiere)
 Juliana Rojas, Marco Dutra, GOOD MANNERS
 Xavier Beauvois, THE GUARDIANS (European Premiere)
 Andrew Haigh, LEAN ON PETE
 Andrey Zvyagintsev, LOVELESS
 Azazel Jacobs, THE LOVERS (European Premiere)
 Warwick Thornton, SWEET COUNTRY
 Cory Finley, THOROUGHBRED (International Premiere)
 Annemarie Jacir, WAJIB
FIRST FEATURE COMPETITION
Titles in consideration for the Sutherland Award in the First Feature Competition recognising an original and imaginative directorial debut are:
 Daniel Kokotajlo, APOSTASY
 Léa Mysius, AVA
 Michael Pearce, BEAST (European Premiere)
 Ofir Raul Graizer, THE CAKEMAKER
 Gilles Coulier, CARGO
 Kogonada, COLUMBUS
 Rungano Nyoni, I AM NOT A WITCH
 Léonor Serraille, JEUNE FEMME
 Ana Asensio, MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND
 Carla Simón, SUMMER 1993
 Hlynur Pálmason, WINTER BROTHERS
 John Trengove, THE WOUND
DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
The Grierson Award in the Documentary Competition category recognises cinematic documentaries with integrity, originality, and social or cultural significance. This year the Festival is screening:
 Maryam Goormaghtigh, BEFORE SUMMER ENDS
 Elvira Lind, BOBBI JENE
 Arash Kamali Sarvestani, Behrouz Boochani, CHAUKA, PLEASE TELL US THE TIME (International Premiere)
 Radu Jude, THE DEAD NATION
 Shevaun Mizrahi, DISTANT CONSTELLATION
 Frederick Wiseman, EX LIBRIS – THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY
 Agnès Varda, JR, FACES PLACES
 Austin Lynch, Matthew Booth, GRAY HOUSE
 Brett Morgen, JANE (European Premiere)
 Lucy Cohen, KINGDOM OF US (World Premiere)
 Emmanuel Gras, MAKALA
 Sonia Kronlund, THE PRINCE OF NOTHINGWOOD

SHORT FILM AWARD

The Short Film Award recognises short form works with a unique cinematic voice and a confident handling of chosen theme and content. This year the Festival is screening:
 Gabriel Abrantes, THE ARTIFICIAL HUMORS
 Phil Collins, DELETE BEACH
 Billie Pleffer, FYSH (International Premiere)
 Anna Cazenave Cambet, GABBER LOVER
 Karishma Dube, GODDESS
 Aegina Brahim, LAWS OF THE GAME
 Jonathan Vinel, MARTIN CRIES
 Patrick Bresnan THE RABBIT HUNT
 Moin Hussain, REAL GODS REQUIRE BLOOD
 Kibwe Tavares, ROBOT & SCARECROW
 Kazik Radwanski, SCAFFOLD
 Harry Lighton, WREN BOYS (World Premiere)
Additional filmmaking talent attending for feature films in competition include:
Robin Campillo, Vivian Qu, Majid Majidi, Nora Twomey, Juliana Rojas, Marco Dutra, Xavier Beauvois, Laura Smet, Andrew Haigh, Charlie Plummer, Andrey Zvyagintsev, Azazel Jacobs, Warwick Thornton, Cory Finley, Annemarie Jacir, Daniel Kokotajlo, Michael Pearce, Ofir Raul Graizer, Gilles Coulier, Rungano Nyoni, Léonor Sérraille, Laetitia Dosch, Ana Asensio, Carla Simón, Hlynur Pálmason, John Trengove, Maryam Goormaghtigh,
Elvira Lind, Arash Kamali Sarvestani, Radu Jude, Shevaun Mizrahi, Frederick Wiseman, Austin Lynch, Matthew Booth, Brett Morgen, Emmanuel Gras, Sonia Kronlund.
The Festival will announce its complete guest line up for all sections in early October.

STRANDS

The Festival programme is organised in sections to encourage discovery and to open up the Festival to new audiences. The strands are: Love, Debate, Laugh, Dare, Thrill, Cult, Journey, Create, Family, Treasures and Experimenta.

LOVE

Sweet, passionate, tough – Love is a complex and many-splendoured thing and this selection charts the highs and lows of many kinds of love from around the globe. The Love Gala is the European Premiere of Dominic Cooke’s quietly heart-breaking film debut ON CHESIL BEACH. Saoirse Ronan and rising actor Billy Howle star as a young couple in the early 1960s struggling to physically connect on their honeymoon, impeccably adapted for the big screen by Ian McEwan from his own Man Booker-shortlisted novela.
Oher highlights in this section include: CLOSE-KNIT, Naoko Ogigami’s quietly subversive and emotionally rich portrait of a transwoman whose maternal feelings are stirred by the arrival of her boyfriend’s 11-year-old niece; THE GROWN-UPS, Maïte Alberdi’s tender and bittersweet documentary portrait of Chileans Anita and Andres, who have Down’s syndrome and are very much in love; the World Premiere of Carlos Marques-Marcet’s ANCHOR AND HOPE, a London-set story about modern love and family featuring Oona Chaplin; John Cameron Mitchell’s cosmic ride HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES, sees aliens have landed in 1970s Croydon in a funny, energetic love story starring Elle Fanning, Alex Sharp and Nicole Kidman; the World Premiere of JOURNEYMAN, features Paddy Considine following up his acclaimed debut Tyrannosaur with the story of a boxer who must rebuild his life after a near-fatal injury; GOING WEST, a World Premiere from Norwegian newcomer Henrik Martin Dahlsbakken who delivers a sweetly delicious road movie; LET THE SUNSHINE IN, Claire Denis’ darkly witty drama starring Juliette Binoche as an artist caught up in a series of unsatisfying affairs, and David Gordon Green’s rousing yet devastating true-story drama STRONGER featuring a remarkable performance by Jake Gyllenhaal as a survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing.

DEBATE

Representing films that amplify, scrutinize, argue and surprise, Debate inspires riveting conversation, which is never more engaging than when the world outside the cinema is reflected back at us. This year’s Debate Gala is Samuel Maoz’s FOXTROT, a film that combines thrilling cinematography with superb performances, and highlights the absurdities of conscripted service.
Debate also includes: BIRDS ARE SINGING IN KIGALI, Joanna Kos-Krauze and Krzysztof Krauze’s hard-hitting drama about the intertwined lives of two refugee survivors reeling from the impact of the Rwandan genocide and containing powerful central performances; the World Premiere of THE CLIMB, Michael Woodward’s debut documentary that charts Greenpeace’s daring all-female team that illegally ascended The Shard in protest against petroleum giant Shell’s plans to dig for oil in the Arctic; the World Premiere of THE FORGIVEN, Roland Joffé’s political drama starring Forest Whitaker as Desmond Tutu and Eric Bana as Piet Blomfeld, asking how far we can go in forgiving past crimes; the World Premiere of ISLAND, Steven Eastwood’s haunting and deeply moving documentary combining observational footage with contemplative shots of the costal landscapes of the Isle of Wight, and set among terminally ill cancer patients, and THE VENERABLE W., Barbet Schroeder’s disturbingly illuminating portrait of Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu, who was known for espousing anti-Muslim hatred.

LAUGH

From laugh-out-loud comedy, to dry and understated, Laugh celebrates humour in all its forms. This year’s Laugh Gala, in association with Empire magazine, is Noah Baumbach’s THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES (NEW AND
SELECTED). A stellar cast give uniformly excellent performances, including Dustin Hoffman, Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, Elizabeth Marvel and Emma Thompson. Through the madcap antics of a neurotic, failure-obsessed clan, Baumbach surfaces bigger questions about how to value family and the meaning of success.
Laugh also includes: the World Premiere of Adrian Shergold’s FUNNY COW, which contains a formidable performance from Maxine Peake as an aspiring stand-up comic confronting her violent husband and the sexist Northern England club circuit; INGRID GOES WEST, Matt Spicer’s jet-black stalker comedy brilliantly skewers dangerous obsession and the sham of Instagrammed perfection with wicked and fearless performances from Elizabeth Olsen and Aubrey Plaza; joy and grace flow out of Dustin Guy Defa’s observational comedy drama PERSON TO PERSON, starring Michael Cera as a reporter keen on quoting (his own) heavy metal lyrics; Daan Bakker’s QUALITY TIME is perfect for lovers of experimental and irreverent cinema offering a portmanteau selection of stories of male arrested development; and Henrik Ruben Genz’s WORD OF GOD is set months after the Chernobyl disaster and provides dark and dirty humour where pretty much nothing is off limits.

DARE

In your face, up-front and arresting, films in Dare take you out of, and beyond, your comfort zone. The Dare Gala is François Ozon’s frisky new thriller, AMANT DOUBLE, a deliciously duplicitous tale of psychoanalysis and seduction that channels the spirits of Hitchcock and De Palma at their naughtiest and stars Jérémie Renier, Marine Vacth and Jacqueline Bisset.
Other highlights in the strand include: Eliza Hittman’s BEACH RATS, a gripping investigation of repressed sexual desire in a hyper-masculine environment; Jon Garaño and Aitor Arregi’s touching drama GIANT, set in 19th century Spain and based on the true story of Mikel Jokin Eleizegi, allegedly the tallest man of his time; Semih Kaplanoğlu’s spellbinding dystopian sci-fi, GRAIN in which climate change has caused the near-extinction of human life; Liu Jian’s adult animé HAVE A NICE DAY, a biting, bone-dry satire on contemporary Chinese social mores and featuring plenty of bloodthirsty Tarantino-esque genre thrills; the European Premiere of Bornila Chatterjee’s THE HUNGRY, which reworks Shakespeare’s bloody Titus Andronicus into a macabre modern tragedy set in Northern India; Barbara Albert’s resplendent drama MADEMOISELLE PARADIS, based on the true story of Maria Theresia ‘Resi’ von Paradis, a gifted blind musician and contemporary of Mozart, paraded through Vienna’s courts to perform; Jean Libon and Yves Hinant’s jaw-dropping and extraordinary documentary SO HELP ME GOD, which details the work of an unorthodox Belgian judge Anne Gruwez as she tackles gruesome crimes, domestic violence and other sordid cases; and WESTERN, director Valeska Grisebach’s contemporary western in which tensions mount between German construction workers and Bulgarian villagers in a small rural town.

THRILL

Thrill features nerve-shredders that’ll get your adrenaline pumping and will keep you on the edge of your seat. This year’s Thrill Gala is Takashi Miike’s savage and inventive action thriller, BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL, based on the famous manga series by Hiroaki Samurai about a samurai cursed with immortal life and has the distinction of being Miike’s 100th feature film.
Thrill also features: the European Premiere of Nattawut Poonpiriya’s Thai teen thriller BAD GENIUS, in which young brainiac Lynn uses a very special set of skills to cheat on behalf of her classmates in the high-stakes world of entrance exams for elite international universities; the European Premiere of Anurag Kashyap’s THE BRAWLER in which a young and talented Indian boxer dreams of being champion, but is knocked sideways when he falls for the niece of the man blocking his road to success; Aaron Katz’s GEMINI in which a heinous crime tests the complex relationship between a tenacious personal assistant, Jill played by Lola Kirke and her Hollywood movie star boss Heather played by Zoë Kravitz; the Safdie brothers’ latest film GOOD TIME features Robert Pattinson as a small-time New York criminal, who after a bank robbery goes seriously wrong, devises a plan to spring his injured accomplice from police custody; Jennifer Peedom’s spectacular documentary MOUNTAIN, is a mind-blowing symphony of images and sound chronicling the powerful attraction mountains hold over us; love, crime and action combine in a taut and twisty thriller-cum-romance in Michaël R. Roskam’s RACER AND THE JAILBIRD starring Adèle Exarchopoulos as Bibi, a young racing driver
and Matthias Schoenaerts as Gigi the Jailbird, a dashing playboy with, it seems, time and money to burn; Ian Nelms and Eshom Nelms’ blackly comic, crime noir, SMALL TOWN CRIME (European Premiere) stars John Hawkes as alcoholic former cop Mike, channelling a drunk Columbo who embarks on his own unofficial crime investigation while Octavia Spencer plays his supportive sister Kelly who is starting to lose patience with Mike’s lying, drifting and drinking; and the International Premiere of Xin Yukun’s sophisticated arthouse thriller, WRATH OF SILENCE featuring martial arts maestro Song Yang, as a mute bruiser who returns to his home, a remote farming village, following the disappearance of his son. With tight plotting, memorable characters and an unforgettable climax, director Xin Yukun establishes himself as a new international filmmaker you need to know.

CULT

From the mind-altering and unclassifiable to fantasy, sci-fi and horror, in the Cult strand, the dark side is welcomed. The Cult Gala is Joachim Trier’s subtle shocker THELMA, a supernaturally-tinged tale of a young woman’s macabre coming of age.
Other titles in the strand include: S. Craig Zahler’s genre-bending, bone-crunching exercise in slow-burn suspense, BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99, starring Vince Vaughn as a former boxer-turned mechanic involved in a drug deal that goes wrong that sees him behind bars; the walking dead get a second chance at life in David Freyne’s debut THE CURED starring Ellen Page in an inventive and surprising post-zombie era drama where a cure has been found for the infected and the rehabilitated are transitioned back into society; the World Premiere of Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman’s GHOST STORIES in which they bring their hit London stage play to the big screen, with suitably chilling results. Nyman plays Phillip Goodman, an academic and professional sceptic out to debunk claims of the supernatural , but when he stumbles across a long lost file containing three unsolved cases of the Occult, his whole belief system – not to mention his sanity – is thrown into question; LET THE CORPSES TAN is directing duo Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani’s adaptation of Jean-Patrick Manchette’s influential 1971 crime novel and the result is a sun-drenched Western-tinged, crime-caper; MY FRIEND DAHMER is director Marc Meyers’ adaptation of John Backderf’s revered graphic novel and is an unnerving portrait of one of America’s most prolific murderers, Jeffrey Dahmer; and Paco Plaza’s much-anticipated new horror film, VERONICA, inspired by an actual unsolved case in Spain and a no-holds-barred supernatural shocker.

JOURNEY

Whether it’s the journey or the destination, these films will transport you and shift your perspective. This year’s Journey Gala is Todd Haynes’ new film WONDERSTRUCK, an enthralling adaptation of Brian Selznick’s acclaimed young adult novel. Featuring Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams in supporting roles alongside a gifted young cast, Oakes Fegley and newcomer Millicent Simmonds, a deaf actress making her film debut, it is both a whimsical children’s film for adults and a refreshingly grown-up film for children.
Other Journey titles include: Arshad Khan’s ABU, a compelling documentary about a young Pakistani man’s difficulties in coping with migration and the resultant cultural change, his emerging sexuality and an increasingly orthodox father; Iraqi filmmaker Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji’s THE JOURNEY, a taut, thought-provoking thriller that tackles what might just be the final moments of a potential suicide bomber’s life; David Batty’s stylish documentary MY GENERATION, presented and narrated by Michael Caine, playfully explores the impact of Britain’s working class cultural revolution in the 1960s and features a wealth of archive footage and a spot-on soundtrack from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Who, which makes for an exhilarating journey back in time; the European Premiere of Egyptian director Amr Salama’s SHEIKH JACKSON, a bittersweet and poignant tale of an Islamist preacher experiencing a crisis of faith following the death of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson; Marc J. Francis and Max Pugh’s fascinating and immersive exploration of mindfulness, WALK WITH ME, featuring narration by Benedict Cumberbatch, follows the daily rituals and routine of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh and offers a rare insight into life within a monastic community; and the World Premiere of THE WHITE GIRL, where debut director Jenny Suen collaborates with legendary cinematographer Christopher Doyle on an intoxicating and textually rich film.

CREATE

The brand new Create strand channels the electricity of the act of creation, celebrating artistic expression in all its forms. The inaugural Create Gala is Michel Hazanavicius’ REDOUBTABLE, an audacious, multi-layered biopic of French cinema’s most notorious director, Jean-Luc Godard.
Also in Create: Greg Kohs’ ALPHAGO the story of how Google’s DeepMind team took on Go world champion Lee Sedol, posing questions about whether computers can think creatively and whether there is an algorithm for intuition; the World Premiere of THE BALLAD OF SHIRLEY COLLINS, Rob Curry and Tim Plester’s portrait of one of the great British folks singers who mysteriously lost her voice in 1980; G-FUNK tells the story of how three childhood friends from East Long Beach Warren G, Snoop Dogg and the late great Nate Dogg, transformed hip-hop into a global phenomenon and changed the world; the World Premiere of William Badgely’s HERE TO BE HEARD: THE STORY OF THE SLITS is a riveting film about the game-changing and largely female feminist punk band; Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman’s LOVING VINCENT is a stunning, fully painted animated feature created in the style of Van Gogh’s paintings matching extraordinary style with richly satisfying storytelling, broadcast live from the National Gallery to cinemas nationwide; and Julian Rosefeldt’s MANIFESTO starring Cate Blanchett as thirteen different characters in this energetic tribute to artistic troublemakers.

FAMILY

Showcasing films for the young, as well as the young at heart, this year’s Family section is, as always, an international affair. The Family Gala is THE BIG BAD FOX AND OTHER TALES, an outstanding, laugh-a-minute animation from Benjamin Renner and Patrick Imbert, the team behind Ernest & Celestine (LFF 2012, Family Gala) and is guaranteed to appeal to adults as much as it will to children.
Other highlights include Chang-yong Moon and Jin Jeon’s beautifully made documentary BECOMING WHO I WAS about a young monk Padma Angdu, who is said to be the latest incarnation of a religious teacher, known as a Rinpoche, and his attempts to reach the home he had in a former life; Xuan Liang and Chun Zhang’s visually breath-taking Chinese animated fantasy, BIG FISH & BEGONIA is as near to the best of Studio Ghibli as you’re likely to find anywhere; Meikeminne Clinckspoor’s family adventure CLOUDBOY is about 12-year-old Niilas who is sent away against his wishes to spend the summer with his estranged mother in Swedish Lapland, among the indigenous reindeer herding Sami people; and winner of the top prize at this year’s Annecy Animation Film Festival, Masaaki Yuasa’s anime LU OVER THE WALL brings human and merfolk together with surprising outcomes. This funky, upbeat tale is full of energy, features cute ‘merdogs’, musical mermaids and a giant humanoid shark and has a really cool soundtrack.
This section also includes a programme of animated shorts for younger audiences which bring together eclectic, exciting and colourful films from all around the globe.

TREASURES

Integrated into our strands, our Treasures selection brings recently restored cinematic classics from archives around the world to the Festival in London. The Archive Gala is the World Premiere of the BFI National Archive restoration of the silent film SHIRAZ: A ROMANCE OF INDIA (1928), a ravishing, romantic tale based on the story of the 17th century Mughal ruler Shah Jahan, his queen and the building of the world’s most beautiful monument to love, the Taj Mahal. Directed by Franz Osten, based on a play by Niranjan Pal and starring and produced by Himansu Rai, the film was shot entirely in India and performed by an all-Indian cast. A new score commissioned by the BFI from world-renowned sitar player and composer Anoushka Shankar will be performed live with an ensemble of musicians playing Indian and western instruments. The restoration and new score are part of the BFI’s contribution to the UK-India Year of Culture 2017.
Other highlights include the World Premieres of the 4K restoration by Sony Pictures Entertainment of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH (1946); the digitally remastered experimental documentary FRANTZ FANON: BLACK SKIN WHITE MASK (1996), directed by artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien, as well as the new 4K restoration, by The BFI National Archive and The Film Foundation, with funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation, of Terry Gilliam’s first feature as a solo director, JABBERWOCKY (1977). The Festival will also screen the 4K restoration of Toshio Matsumoto’s
FUNERAL PARADE OF ROSES (1969), a wild, kaleidoscopic vision of the underground scene in 1960s Japan and a significant influence on Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange and Italian genre-master Dario Argento’s eye-popping slice of technicolour terror, SUSPIRIA (1977) with stunning 4K restoration.

EXPERIMENTA

Experimenta, in association with Lux, features films and videos by artists who transform our experience of seeing moving images. Arts Council England are also generously supporting the Experimenta programme.
Highlights include: the World Premiere of Benedict Seymour’s DEAD THE ENDS, a politically urgent retelling of Chris Marker’s La Jetée bookended by the 2011 London riots; ERASE AND FORGET, Andrea Luka Zimmerman’s film is an excavation of the influence of fiction on truth in the American imagination of warfare and gun culture; the World Premiere of LEK AND THE DOGS, Andrew Kötting’s account of the ultimate outsider uses a range of visual styles derived from avant garde and genre cinema, and Kevin Jerome Everson’s TONSLER PARK uses an unobtrusive observational style to divulge the mechanisms behind the operation of Election Day at polling stations in Charlottesville, Virginia.

SHORTS

The eclectic range of shorts this year will make audiences experience a range of emotions from euphoria to sadness as they cover all the different strands in the programme.
Like A Heartbeat Drives You Mad (LOVE Strand) brings together stories of disapproving parents, difficult love and traumatic break-ups in this selection of films from all over the world, including Daisy Jacob’s THE FULL STORY, an animation about a father’s affair, family break-up and sibling rivalry.
Distilled Identities (DEBATE Strand) explores stories that question identity and belonging, including Kazik Radwanski’s SCAFFOLD, depicting the daily interactions of two Bosnian-Canadian builders reminiscing about home as they make repairs.
There is dark, dry and witty on-screen humour in short form with Gits and Shiggles (LAUGH Strand), including Kate Herron’s SMEAR, in which the awkward reality of a first-time smear test is made funny by one woman’s crushing femininity.
My Loneliness is Killing Me (DARE Strand) presents a selection of films asking existential questions about our place in the world at a time when we are more connected than ever, including SALT & SAUCE by Alia Ghafar, a film about battered sausages and trying to figure out what the hell you’re doing with your life.
The Thrill of the Chase (THRILL Strand) provides an adrenaline shot to put us on the edge of our seats. In OKSIJAN by Edward Watts, the true story of a seven-year old Afghan boy who finds himself trapped in a refrigerated truck with 14 other refugees as they are smuggled into the UK. In 1745 by Gordon Napier, two slave sisters escape into the Scottish wilderness in the year of the Jacobite rising.
There are alternative fictions and skewed realities in Strange World (CULT Strand), including Seth Ickerman’s TURBO KILLER, a sci-fi take on The Fast and the Furious and Kitty Faingold’s BODY WORLD, in which a fully grown new born woman is birthed into a hazy summer’s garden.
Heading for that Adult Crash (JOURNEY Strand) explores the stressful journey from childhood to adulthood, including Aneil Karia’s WORK about a 17 year old dancer attempting to contain her growing contempt towards an unjust world, and Patrick Bresnan’s THE RABBIT HUNT, in which an initiation rite is performed on boys on the cusp of manhood in Pahokee, Florida.
London Calling (JOURNEY Strand) spotlights some of the capital’s most exciting upcoming filmmakers including SAMIRA’S PARTY by Bijan Sheibani, in which the bonds between 14-year old Samad and his mum are put to the test on a trip to the supermarket, and FIGHTER by Bugsy Riverbank Steel, about a boxer with Down’s syndrome who fights for his right to get in the ring in the tense minutes before a boxing match.
Hoping. Fearing. Dreaming (CREATE Strand) examines lives yet to be lived including DELETE BEACH, a collaboration between Turner Prize-nominated Phil Collins and leading animation Studio 4°C.

LFF CONNECTS & SCREEEN TALKS

The acclaimed LFF Connects series returns with a programme of agenda-setting talks from the world’s leading artists and thinkers who are working at the intersection of film and other creative industries, while the Festival’s acclaimed Screen Talks series will welcome some of the most exciting international actors and directors in contemporary cinema to discuss their body of work.

LFF CONNECTS: JULIAN ROSEFELDT & CATE BLANCHETT

Artist Julian Rosefeldt is renowned for his visually opulent and meticulously choreographed moving image artworks. Inspired equally by art, film, architecture and the history of popular culture, he creates complex multi-screen installations that carry viewers into surreal, theatrical realms. Here he is joined by BFI Fellow Cate Blanchett to discuss their collaboration on the critically acclaimed, 13-channel video installation MANIFESTO (in the Festival’s Create strand), a deconstruction of art manifestos and a call for original thought, which has been adapted and reassembled as a 90-minute feature and receives its European Film Premiere at the Festival (Fri 6th October, NFT1).

LFF CONNECTS: NITIN SAWHNEY

Nitin Sawhney is firmly established as a world-class multi-hyphenate artist – producer, composer, multi-instrumentalist and DJ. He has composed for multiple forms, from film and videogames to dance and theatre. Highly prolific, his collaborations include some of the world’s leading orchestras and songwriters, including Paul McCartney, The London Symphony Orchestra, A R Rahman, Brian Eno, Sinéad O’Connor, Anoushka Shankar, Cirque Du Soleil and Akram Khan. Having composed the score for the Festival’s Opening Night Gala film BREATHE, he is currently collaborating with that film’s director Andy Serkis on the upcoming Jungle Book. (Sat 7th October, Vue7).

LFF CONNECTS: IAN MCEWAN

One of the greatest modern British writers, Ian McEwan made a name for himself writing dark and gripping novels, often notorious for their extreme themes. His work has also explored the impact of unusual situations on ordinary people and examined how social and political issues determine personal lives. With his latest adaptation ON CHESIL BEACH as this year’s Love Gala, we’re delighted to have McEwan join us to discuss the different disciplines of writing for the page and the screen and explore why his fiction continues to have such enduring appeal for big screen storytellers (Sun 8th October, Curzon Soho).

LFF CONNECTS: JOHAN KNATTRUP JENSEN

Based in Copenhagen, the progressive production studio Makropol strives to create transforming stories with tools from the new digital age. Their credo is: art can drive innovation and innovation can be art. Makropol employ virtual- reality technology to test the boundaries of film narrative. Building on traditional visual storytelling, they introduce new opportunities for audiences to interact with plotlines and characters, and one another. Johan Knattrup Jensen graduated from the progressive alternative film school Super16 in 2012 and is considered to be among the pioneers of cinematic virtual reality. Here, he leads a masterclass on Makropol’s most significant virtual reality projects, highlighting the discoveries and detailing the challenges that have determined their approach to cinema (Tues 10th October, NFT3).

LFF CONNECTS: DAVID FINCHER

One of the most revered filmmakers of a generation, Fincher began his career making pop promos with some of the world’s most influential artists, from Madonna to Michael Jackson. He has also directed a series of iconic ad campaigns for major international brands. As a feature filmmaker he has few peers, with a back catalogue including Se7en, Fight Club, The Social Network, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. MINDHUNTER (this year’s LFF Connects Special Presentation) marks Fincher’s return to the small screen after overseeing House of Cards for Netflix. Fincher returns to the BFI London Film Festival to discuss MINDHUNTER in the context of his career and the recent boom in long-form episodic drama (Tue 10th October, NFT1).

LFF CONNECTS: DEMIS HASSABIS

Demis Hassabis, the co-founder of renowned artificial intelligence (AI) lab DeepMind, is recognised as one of the world’s smartest thinkers in his field. DeepMind is on a scientific mission to push the boundaries of AI, developing programs that can learn to solve any complex problem. Greg Kohl’s documentary AlphaGo (in the LFF Create strand), details how DeepMind’s AlphaGo algorithm beat a world champion at the notoriously difficult Chinese board game Go. Demis Hassabis will discuss his journey from junior chess champion and videogame creator to world-renowned AI pioneer. He will also talk about the Go challenge and speculate on how AI will shape the future (Wed 11th October, NFT3).

LFF SCREEN TALK: TAKASHI MIIKE

The revered Japanese director achieved global prominence with his astonishingly graphic films Audition and Ichi the Killer in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Now with a hundred films under his belt, the prolific filmmaker has defied all attempts to pigeon-hole him as a niche director, being both a big-budget hit-maker and film festival darling. Best known for over-the-top violence and gore, his films cover the gamut of genres and styles including light-hearted children’s films (Zebraman and The Great Yokai War) period pieces (Sabu) subdued road movies (The Bird People in China) and farcical musical-comedy-horror films (The Happiness of the Katakuris). He joins us to talk about his life in film on the occasion of his 100th movie, which the Festival presents as this year’s Thrill Gala, the blood-drenched supernatural samurai BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL.
(Mon October 9th, Curzon Soho)

INDUSTRY & EDUCATION

The Festival offers a full benefits package for Industry delegates. This year’s industry programme, supported by the Mayor of London, via Film London, includes the LFF Connects strand which celebrates artists working at the intersection of film and other creative industries; the talent development programme NET.WORK@LFF; Screen International’s UK Stars of Tomorrow 2017 and a host of other panels, talks and networking events.
This year’s Festival marks the second year of the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award in association with the BFI. At £50,000, the Bursary is the most significant of its kind in the UK film industry, supporting exceptional new and emerging writers, directors and writer/directors resident in the UK, and premiering their first or second feature in Official Selection at the BFI London Film Festival. The full industry programme will be announced in September.
The Festival again hosts Press and Industry screenings at Picturehouse Central, the Digital Viewing Library, a host of delegate hubs, discounts at partner venues and numerous networking opportunities with delegates and filmmakers. Visit www.bfi.org.uk/lff/professional-delegates for further details.

The BFI London Film Festival Education programme is supported by funding contributors The Film Music Foundation and BFI Film Academy, and event partners Into Film, London Music Masters and no.w.here. It includes a diverse range of morning screenings of films selected from the festival programme and special events for schools, students and young people, all featuring a wide range of film industry professionals, as well as the opportunity to take part in one of our three Young Juries for students, secondary and primary schools. For students in Higher Education, the Festival also offers a Student Accreditation scheme and the Film School Programme presented in partnership with the National Film & Television School, London Film Academy, London Film School and Birkbeck College.

BFI PLAYER

The BFI London Film Festival experience can be enjoyed UK-wide on BFI Player, the BFI’s VOD service, featuring a Festival digital channel showing regular red carpet action and film maker interviews. BFI London Film Festival content will be a key attraction in the range of services on BFI Player – at player.bfi.org.uk/

BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL: AT A GLANCE

The 61st BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express®
4 – 15 October 2017
Tickets on sale:
 BFI Members: 10:00am 7 September
 Amex priority booking opens at 10.00am, 12 September
 General sale: 10:00am 14 September
For tickets, visit: www.bfi.org.uk/lff
Telephone Bookings: 020 7928 3232 between 10:00 – 20:30
In person: BFI Southbank Office: 10:00 – 20:30
…ENDS…

THE 61st BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL SPONSORS AND FUNDERS

We’re delighted that American Express® join us for their eighth year as Principal Sponsor and Preferred Payment Partner.
We welcome the Royal Bank of Canada as a Main Sponsor of the Festival for the second year and are thrilled to see the return of American Airlines as Main Sponsor and Official Airline. We’re delighted IWC Schaffhausen return as the Festival’s Official Time Partner.

We give heartfelt thanks to The May Fair Hotel, who return as the Festival’s Official Hotel and Renault, our Official Car Partner.

The BFI London Film Festival is made possible thanks to support from DCMS and The National Lottery and many other cultural institutions and organisations. We are also delighted to be supported directly by the Mayor of London through Film London as a funding contributor.
The remastering and new score of the BFI Archive Gala film, SHIRAZ, is supported using public funding by Arts Council England, alongside additional support from Matt Spick; PRS Foundation’s ‘The Open Fund’; the George Harrison family, on behalf of the Material World Foundation; and all donors to the BFI’s Film is Fragile fundraising campaign.

A huge thank you goes to the Festival’s generous in-kind Sponsors: returning photography sponsor Getty Images and cinema advertising partner Digital Cinema Media. Additionally, we would like to welcome DDA and Four Colman Getty and thank Exterion Media, Fever-Tree, Green & Black’s, Harkness Screens, The Hospital Club, The House of St Barnabas, Impact Marketing, The Library, Picture Production Company, Pink Pepper Gin, TV5 Monde and The Union for their continued support. We would also like to thank new sponsors Dalston Cola and Maltsmiths.

Cinema partners returning this year are Odeon, Vue, Curzon, Picturehouse, ICA, Empire Haymarket, Ciné Lumière, Prince Charles Cinema and Rich Mix.
We are delighted to welcome back returning Media Partners Evening Standard, Time Out, Empire, Sight & Sound, Screen International, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Little White Lies as well as valued Broadcast Partners BBC London and Magic FM for continuing to provide invaluable media support. We are also pleased to welcome VICE as a media partner this year.

The Festival would also like to give a huge thanks to returning sponsors Christie Digital, Dolby Laboratories, Inc. and Newman Displays.

Finally, the Festival would like to thank the many embassies and cultural institutes who support the Festival by helping to bring in filmmakers to present their work.

2017 Urbanworld Film Festival: programming slate announced

August 23, 2017

Urbanworld Film Festival logo

The following is a press release from the Urbanworld Film Festival:

The 21st Annual Urbanworld Film Festival (www.urbanworld.org), along with founding partner HBO, revealed its 2017 film slate today.  The slate of 80 official selections represents the broadest lens of diversity across stories, characters, themes and cultures and expands the definition of urban beyond ethnicity to include sensibility, culture and proximity.  Creators and audiences will converge to experience these bold and diverse artistic works in Manhattan September 20-24, 2017 at AMC Empire 25 on 234 West 42nd Street.

“Our 2017 slate reflects an even deeper variety of content including new categories animation shorts, web originals and music videos in response to the changing landscape inspired by the cross-cultural community of makers and innovators,” said Gabrielle Glore, Festival Director & Head of Programming, Urbanworld Film Festival.  “We are proud that Urbanworld remains ‘THE’ destination for storytellers and studios to connect with a viewing audience as we continue to take a lead role in inclusion, highlighting distinct voices and elevating content creators with diverse backgrounds.”

Highlights of the festival include daily spotlight presentations.

Legendary music executive Irv “Gotti” Lorenzo redefines the music genre with BET’s “Tales,” a scripted anthology series of “song stories,” using lyrics of classic and current hip-hop songs and reimagines them into mini-movies.  Fetty Wap’s Trap Queen will serve as the thematic backdrop of the episode that will screen at the festival on Thursday, September 21 at 8:00 p.m. Lorenzo will participate in a Q&A immediately following the screening of the episode.

Directed by “The Wire” actor Sonja Sohn, the thought-provoking HBO documentary “Baltimore Rising,” will be showcased on Friday, September 22 at 7:45 p.m.  The filmmaker follows activists, police officers, community leaders and gang affiliates who struggle to hold Baltimore together, in the wake of Freddie Gray’s death, even as the homicide rate hits record levels, and explores how to make change when change is hard.

Renowned filmmaker Ava DuVernay returns to the festival on Saturday, September 23 at 5:00 p.m. to debut the midseason premiere of “Queen Sugar.” In the contemporary drama on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, the Bordelon siblings struggle to move forward with their lives as they strive to honor the legacy of their father following his unexpected passing.  Immediately following the screening, series stars Rutina Wesley, Dawn-Lyen Gardner and Kofi Siriboe will appear in conversation with DuVernay along with legendary director Julie Dash, who joins the second straight season of an all-female directorial team handpicked by DuVernay.

The U.S. premiere of “Marshall” will close the festival on Saturday, September 23 at 8:00 p.m.  Long before he sat on the United States Supreme Court or claimed victory in Brown v. Board of Education, Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) was a young rabble-rousing attorney for the NAACP. The film marks the true story of his greatest challenge in those early days – a fight he fought alongside attorney Sam Friedman (Josh Gad), a young lawyer with no experience in criminal law: the case of black chauffeur Joseph Spell (Sterling K. Brown), accused by his white employer, Eleanor Strubing of sexual assault and attempted murder. Award-winning journalist Tamron Hall will moderate a Q&A with Boseman, Brown, Gad and Academy Award® nominated director Reginald Hudlin immediately following the screening of the film.

Hudlin will also serve as the ambassador for the 2017 Urbanworld Film Festival.  The acclaimed director and producer is a pioneer of the modern black film movement, helming some of the most influential films and TV series of his generation including House Party, Boomerang and “Black Panther.”  Most notably, he was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar® as one of the producers of Quentin Tarantino’s Academy Award® and Golden Globe® -winning film Django Unchained, one of the top-grossing Westerns of all time.

Other talent confirmed to appear during the festival includes Jeffrey Wright, Melvin Van Peebles, Gabourey Sidibe, Jamie Hector, Susan Kelechi Watson, Ledisi, La La Anthony, Mustafa Shakir, Saycon Sengbloh and LaTanya Richardson-Jackson.

Urbanworld Digital will return to deliver a series of thought-provoking conversations, covering a range of topics including global opportunity, the convergence of content and technology and diversity in the industry on Thursday, September 21, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. at the HBO Theater on 1100 6th Avenue.  The event has been presented by HBO since 2010 with festival filmmakers, digital influencers, executives, entrepreneurs and content creators attending annually.  “As the platforms and mediums for content, communication and interaction evolve at an unprecedented pace, they continue providing and opening unique opportunities to amplify and elevate remarkable voices from a wide array of talented multicultural storytellers. HBO is delighted to host the seventh annual Urbanworld Digital, which provides precisely this forum to explore the convergence of creativity, media and technology,” said Dennis Williams, Senior Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, HBOGuests may RSVP for these events on Urbanworld’s official website beginning September 1, 2017.

Along with founding partner HBO, key supporters include prestige partner BET Networks as well as premiere partners Comcast NBCUniversal and OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.  Industry partner supporters include Time Warner, Warner Bros., Stage 13, Urban Movie Channel, AMC Independent, Directors Guild of America and Writers Guild of America East.  New York Amsterdam News serves as a media partner.

Tickets and passes for the festival are on sale now.  For additional announcements in September, go to www.urbanworld.org.  Follow @UWFilmFest and use #UW21 to join the conversation about Urbanworld on social media.

URBANWORLD 2017 FILM SLATE
*As of 08.23.17*

SPOTLIGHT PRESENTATIONS
Marshall – Directed by Reginald Hudlin – Presented by Open Road Films (U.S. Premiere)
Baltimore Rising – Directed by Sonja Sohn – Presented by HBO (U.S. Premiere)
Tales: Trap Queen – Directed by Benny Boom – Presented by BET Networks (World Premiere)
Queen Sugar – Directed by Julie Dash – Presented by OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network (New York Premiere)
Released – Presented by OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network (New York Premiere)
Double Play – Directed by Ernest Dickerson (U.S. Premiere)
Blackout (Alumni Spotlight – 10th Anniversary) – Directed by Jerry LaMothe

THE REVOLT YOUNG FILMMAKERS SHOWCASE
Curiosities of the Quiet Boy – Directed by Quran Squire (New York Premiere)
Laced – Directed by David Fortune (World Premiere)
Night – Directed by Joosje Duk (New York Premiere)
Role Model – Directed by TJ Noel-Sullivan (New York Premiere)
Sad Mobius – Directed by Kiho Song (World Premiere)
Khiluana (Toy) – Directed by Rajat Agrawal (World Premiere)

U.S. NARRATIVE FEATURES
Alaska Is A Drag – Directed by Shaz Bennett (East Coast Premiere)
Bruce!!! – Directed by Eden Marryshow (New York Premiere)
Covers – Directed by Malcolm M. Mays (World Premiere)
Quest – Directed by Santiago Rizzo (U.S. Premiere)
Shine – Directed by Anthony Nardolillo (World Premiere)
The Price – Directed by Anthony Onah – Presented by Samuel   Goldwyn (East Coast Premiere)
Varsity Punks – Directed by Anthony Solorzano (East Coast Premiere)

WORLD NARRATIVE FEATURES
Brown Girl Begins (Canada) – Directed by Sharon Lewis (World Premiere)
Cargo (Bahamas) – Directed by Kareem J. Mortimer (New York Premiere)
Catching Feelings (South Africa) – Directed by Kagiso Lediga (East Coast Premiere)
Moko Jumbie (Trinidad & Tobago) – Directed by Vashti Anderson (East Coast Premiere)
Stay (Japan) – Directed by Darryl Wharton-Rigby (World Premiere)
Tourments D’Amour (France) – Directed by Caroline Jules (New York Premiere)

DOCUMENTARY FEATURES
Behind the Curtain: Eclipsed – Directed by Collins J. Harris IV – Presented by BET International (New York Premiere)
Coach Jake – Directed by Ian Phillips (World Premiere)
Geek Girls – Directed by Gina Hara – Presented by Women Make Movies (U.S. Premiere)
Milwaukee 53206 – Directed by Keith McQuirter
Speaking Tongues / Somos Lengua – Directed by Kyzza Terrazas (East Coast Premiere)
Teach Us All – Directed by Sonia Lowman – Presented by ARRAY (East Coast Premiere)
Word Is Bond – Directed by Sacha Jenkins – Presented by Saboteur (World Premiere)

NARRATIVE SHORTS
Ablution – Directed by Omar Al Dakheel (World Premiere)
AKASHI (あかし) – Directed by Mayumi Yoshida
Atone – Directed by Damon L. Smith (East Coast Premiere)
Big City – Directed by Jordan Bond and Lachlan Ryan
Hijo por Hijo (Child For Child) – Directed by Juan Avella (New York Premiere)
Cocoon – Directed by Mei Liying
Covered – Directed by Desha Dauchan (New York Premiere)
Dayton Jones – Directed by Nelson George (World Premiere)
Emergency – Directed by Carey Williams
Flip the Record – Directed by Marie Jamora
Fractured – Directed by Arnold Chun (East Coast Premiere)
French – Directed by Josza Anjembe
Just Go – Directed by Pavels Gumennikovs (New York Premiere)
Last Looks – Directed by Cierra Glaude (World Premiere)
Lunch Time – Directed by Alireza Ghasemi (New York Premiere)
Oscar Micheaux – Directed by JD Walker (U.S. Premiere)
Out Again – Directed by Robin Cloud
Search Party – Directed by Tesia Walker
Shadow of Man – Directed by Kristof Sagna (U.S. Premiere)
Silence Radio – Directed by Kartik Singh (U.S. Premiere)
So Far From God – Directed by Bret Polish (World Premiere)
Something More Banal – Directed by Shalini Adnani
Suitable – Directed by Thembi Banks (U.S. Premiere)
The Tale of Four – Directed by Gabourey Sidibe (New York Premiere)
Teachers – Directed by Mark Columbus (World Premiere)
The Bill – Directed by Caralene Robinson (New York Premiere)
The Jump Off – Directed by Jovan James (World Premiere)
The Middlegame – Directed by Kristen Hester (World Premiere)
The Paris Project – Directed by Tamara P. Carter (World Premiere)
Vernon Walks – Directed by Santiago A. Zannou (U.S. Premiere)

DOCUMENTARY SHORTS
Waiting for Hassana – Directed by Ifunanya Maduka
Alone – Directed by Garrett Bradley

ANIMATION SHORTS
Victor & Isolina – Directed by William D. Caballero
Sophia – Directed by Zsofia Opra-Szabo
Mosquito: Bite of Passage – Directed by Brian Vincent Rhodes and Eric Cheng

WEB ORIGINALS
Docket 32357 – Directed by Randy Wilkins (East Coast Premiere)
High And Mighty – Directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada (East Coast Premiere)
I Love Bekka and Lucy – Directed by Rachael Holder (East Coast Premiere)
Independent – Created by We Are Famous (East Coast Premiere)

MUSIC VIDEOS
Beautiful Soul (Featuring Elán Varner) – Directed by Jac Benson II (World Premiere)
Know Your Worth (Featuring Halima Akinlade) – Directed by Emily Gurland
Can I Exist (Featuring Missio) – Directed by Jeff Ray
Sunday Saxon (Featuring Old Man Saxon) – Directed by Anthony Yano Hays

SCREENPLAYS
Amber’s Alert – Written by Thada Catalon
Eliza – Written by Kym Mosley
Pale Horse – Written by Chris Courtney Martin
Muted – Written by Brandi Nicole Payne

ABOUT URBANWORLD FILM FESTIVAL
Urbanworld Film Festival was launched in August 1997 by founder Stacy Spikes, a former executive at Miramax and October Films.  With estimated attendance reaching over 15,000, the five-day festival anchored in film showcases narrative features, documentaries, short films, spotlight screenings and live staged screenplay readings; the Urbanworld Digital track focuses on digital panels and workshops; and the Urbanworld Music franchise highlights emerging talent in live performances during festival events. Over the last 20 years, Hollywood studios and indie film distributors, as well as established and emerging filmmakers, have consistently chosen Urbanworld to premiere box office and award-winning hits. The Urbanworld Film Festival is an initiative of the Urbanworld Foundation Inc.  Gabrielle Glore serves as Festival Director & Head of Programming. The organization’s website is www.urbanworld.org.